Review: THE BIG SHORT

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

Ever since the United States economy tanked in 2008, there have been a myriad of feature films based on original or adapted scripts about how it happened, who is to blame and who got away with it. Margin Call (2011); Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) and Too Big To Fail (2011) are just a few dramas that come to mind, but there are also many more that exist, along with the documentaries. The book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, written by Michael Lewis (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game) has been adapted by writer/director Adam McKay (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) and Charles Randolph.

Frankly, when I first saw McKay’s name credited on this film, at first all I recalled about him are the multiple films featuring Will Ferrell and the comedies they have created. Hesitant at first about how he would handle the topic of the financial crisis, I took a look at the list of actors and soon approached the film with anticipation. As the viewer is informed about the housing market and the banking system, there is some serious drama going on and then unexpected comedy. No doubt, this story can create a wide range of emotions while learning some history about how some people got screwed and others became sickeningly rich when it all went down. The production far exceeded my expectation and is certainly one I recommend.

Michael Burry (Christian Bale) is a hedge-fund guru who predicts something about the direction of the economy – way in advance of anything going wrong. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) is a subprime mortgage specialist. Mark Baum (Steve Carell) is a very emotional man, married to Cynthia (Marisa Tomei), and works as an investor on Wall Street with a tight knit team (Hamish Linklater and Jeremy Strong among them). Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) who used to be in the mix of this world has stepped back, but stays informed before everything falls apart. Each one provides an excellent performance and so far, both Christian Bale and Steve Carell are nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy. Aside from the lead cast members are many other actors who have one scene (Melissa Leo as Georgia), or several scenes, including Finn Wittrock, John Magaro, Byron Mann, Tracy Letts and Adepero Oduye, among many.
Add to this excellent cast a number of celebrities who each appear in one scene to explain things to “us” in ways not expected, including Margot Robbie (Focus, The Wolf of Wall Street) with a glass in hand and little else on; Chef Anthony Bourdain creating a fish stew and Selena Gomez at a gambling table.
The Big Short is a Golden Globe nominee for the Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy. The film opens December 23rd and is a smart film to catch and learn what the buzz is all about!

Source – Paramount Pictures, Golden Globes

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