Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Movie Review: The Big Short

Running out of the slapdash comedy, I was still into seeing a movie last night so I caught the awards bait financial crisis drama loaded with big actors. I was a bit late from the aforementioned movie swap but I have actually read the first part of this screenplay. Charles Randolph and Adam Mckay do an engaging job adapting Michael Lewis's book of the same title. That Adam Mckay directed comedies like Anchorman is telling in the approach he takes to this rough topic.

I was immediately hooked just from reading the first few scenes and actually put it down since I preferred to see the rest of the movie. This is the sort of film where I knew the ending thanks to historical context but the tension builds from that knowledge and just how blind all the bankers were to the crisis. 

The cast is all white men, which is unfortunate. Don't be fooled by the Marisa Tomei casting as she is hardly in more than two scenes. There is a decent performance Adepero Oduye with one of the most moving scenes for Steve Carell. I think the bland casting my reflect the makeup of most Wall Street banks so at least they could shift the blame onto historical accuracy.

As far as the accuracy of the tale goes, I have no idea. They did a decent job breaking down all the complicated banking in a fun way even throwing in Selena Gomez at a Black Jack table, but all the talk of CDO, Credit Default Swaps, and fees for ratings comes out a bit muddle and I'm not sure there will ever be anything that makes what happened in 2007-08 ever make sense to my feeble mind.

The acting cast was great. Carell leads with the most moving performance as Mark Baum, a tortured prophet who no one listens to. He certainly had the most turmoil and deserves a nomination. Christian Bale may also get nominated but I thought his performance at Dr. Mike Burry a bit more toned down than some of his other award winning performances. Ryan Gosling played it cool as always and I looked forward to seeing what else he is in. Brad Pitt had some moving lines, especially the one about the death toll of unemployment figures. Connecting the financial numbers with real people was a great message of this film.

The supporting cast was stellar and many familiar promising young actors showed up who are making names for themselves in television and now moving to these small but important roles in films. 

The Big Short is a call into the darkness and I'm not sure it will generate enough attention with Star Wars plugging up most theaters but once the hype dies down, I would like to see this film garner more acclaim for its entertaining storytelling and important message.  

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