Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale
Directed by: Adam McKay
Running time: 2 hrs 16 mins
Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
They said it could never happen. That any financial institution could do so poorly that it could affect the world. But that is what happened in 2008 when the housing industry imploded. Thousands of people lost money and even thousands more lost their homes. Yet, even in the toughest times, a fortuitous group of investors bucked the odds. Such is the story of “The Big Short.”
The year is 2005. We meet Dr. Michael Burry (Bale). Burry is not your typical money guy. He spends days in his office, sans shoes, and is more apt to have a pair of drumsticks in his hands then a prospectus. However, his uncanny ability to read upcoming trends in stocks and banking has made him a valuable asset to his firm, where he is given carte blanche to invest the firm’s money as he sees fit. And he’s seen fit to invest $1.3 billion in home mortgages. Rather, in home mortgages that will fail. Is he a genius? Or did he just blow a lot of people’s college fund?
Smartly written and skillfully directed, “The Big Short” is the last film you’d expect to see from Adam McKay, best known for his long association with Will Ferrell. But McKay delivers here in spades. He is helped by an amazing script, based on the book by Michael Lewis and co-written by McKay and Charles Randolph. Here we are introduced to the key players, headlined by Bale, Carell, Gosling, Brad Pitt and others. The dialogue is sharp (“who the hell doesn’t pay their mortgage?” one character asks early on) and the actors are up to the challenge. Characters sometime break the fourth wall to explain things and the film also contains some very funny cameos who also keep the audience up to the minute on the events unfolding. As the film progresses we learn more about the characters and what motivates them. Each has a reason they’ve arrived at the same conclusion and no two are the same.
To say any more would equate to “spoiling” the film so I’ll leave you with this: make an investment in “The Big Short”…it’s a sure thing!