Film review: THE BIG SHORT (15)

The Big Short.
The Big Short.
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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: RYAN GOSLING, CHRISTIAN BALE, STEVE CARELL, FINN WITTROCK, JOHN MAGARO & BRAD PITT

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 10 MINS

DIRECTOR: ADAM McKAY

It’s time to take director Adam McKay seriously after this terrific Oscar-nominated effort.

He’s usually best known as the comedy mastermind behind most Will Ferrell blockbusters – Anchorman, The Other Guys, Talladega Nights, etc) – and may have initially seemed like an odd choice to cover this Wall Street meltdown flick.

But the writer/director, who instructed Ferrell to place a pair of prosthetic testicles on a drum kit in Step Brothers, has proved any potential naysayers wrong by doing an incredible job – and providing us with an award season front-runner to boot.

Adapted from Michael Lewis’ best-seller of the same name (whose material brought us the popular film Moneyball), this ‘mostly’ true story focuses around an ensemble of characters who predicted the collapse of the housing market – before the media, the financial institutions, or anyone else did.

These individuals consist of the egotistical Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), the socially-awkward Dr Michael Burry (Oscar-nominated Christian Bale), the highly-strung Mark Baum (Steve Carell), and the young duo of Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller (Finn Wittrock and John Magaro).

We then see the terrible truth behind the housing market collapse from the mid-to-late noughties unfold from different points-of-view.

This is a subject that even many economists and bankers fail to fully understand – so surely an ‘average Joe’ such as myself would struggle with the plot? Commendably that wasn’t the case at all.

McKay goes to great lengths to help us understand the plot by regularly breaking the ‘Fourth Wall’ – by basically having the characters explain things directly to the camera in an often light-hearted way.

But no matter how much ‘glitter’ you throw at the dry world of economics, it’s a subject that will undoubtedly bore some – even though this is a story that everyone needs to hear.

The recession is something that affected many of us – some more than others – and as Brad Pitt’s character says during one of his brief scenes: “For every one per cent that unemployment rises – 40,000 people die.”

So, yes, this is a heavy topic – but it’s surprisingly entertaining.

Not one person feels out of place within this star-studded ensemble – with everyone giving 100 per cent to their roles – and it’s easy to see why this has been nominated for five Oscars. 


Rating: 5/5 Mikey Clarke