The Big Short is not only an infinitely hilarious and satirical look at the 2008 Wall Street Crash it is an important window into the greed and seediness that governs and shapes our miserable lives.
The Big Short, based on the novel by Michael Lewis, gives us a fourth-wall breaking and hilarious look into the nonsensical Wall Street Crash and the lowly men that bet against the American Economy to profit from it. This isn’t a story about good guys, they say that outright, it’s an outrageously true story that never sanitises the ridiculousness of its subjects.
Acting – A
Some may see the name Adam McKay and think that The Big Short is nothing but an Anchorman-esque take on the banking industry. It is not. McKay transforms into something amazing with The Big Short, mustering incredible performances from his stellar ensemble cast. Christian Bale is deftly brilliant as Michael Burry, the man who saw the housing market would fail. Ryan Gosling is oozingly entertaining as hot shot Jared Vennett. Steve Carell continues to solidify his range with a deeply empathetic performance as scene-stealer Mark Baum. And the film’s supporting cast is nothing to flinch at. McKay also calls on his kooky sensibilities to stir the performances into something effervescent and tangible.
Writing – B+
If I have ever seen a film close to the genius of Aaron Sorkin, it is this one. The Big Short is fiercely rapid when it needs to be. It is slow and gentle when it has to be. It is blunt when the narrative calls for it and it is harsh 100% of the time. There is no sanitation here and any exaggeration that occurs is immediately called out. This film is inherently truthful because it needs to be, because the writers know that the truth is even more infuriating and annoying than any lie an Academy award winning writer could dream of. You will leave this film angry and despondent, and the filmmakers will know their job has been done.
Direction – B+
One cannot laud Adam McKay enough for how well he handled such a complicated subject. He knows that, on paper, this story would go through one ear and out the other. McKay employs interesting gears to deal with that, which would verge on spoilers, but his best choice was letting the truth play out. my only qualm comes with the almost Lars Von Trier influenced need to cut back to stock footage of nature and society in a need to parallel and embody. Sometimes this feels like McKay is trying too hard with a subject he is obviously passionate about and one would have preferred a straighter take.
The Big Short is not only an important, infuriating and outrageous, it is also a thoroughly entertaining film housing fleeting performances from Gosling, Carell and Bale.
Score – A-