MOVIE REVIEW: The Big Short (2015)

THE BIG SHORT (2015) Review
Directed by Adam McKay

Based on the book of the same title, Adam McKay writes and directs this film adaptation starring none other than Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. The film builds it story in an unusual way for something bad. The financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 was an unfortunate event not only for Americans but for the whole world. Though these were tackled in a serious and informative way, there’s always room for a light take on these and that includes cameos from stars such as Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie, Richard Thaler and Anthony Bourdain as themselves.

Everything seems normal in the business world especially in Wall Street until Michael Burry played by Bale discovers that U.S. Housing Market is unstable and is about to explode badly affecting billions of people all around the world especially in America. Before this happens, he realizes that he can profit from this unfortunate even by creating a credit default swap market, fortunately for the viewers, this type of terms are explained in a very efficient way through cameos from celebrities. Burry, though pretty sure of his conclusion doesn’t convince his boss in dealing millions of their money. Christian Bale is incredible here, he does look like an introvert geek and acts like someone who’s weird but definitely smart. He does have something distinct about his character that it feels like he studied it so well that he embodied it perfectly.

We now go to Steve Carell, who does speeches in a very engaging way. He portrays Mark Baum, a hedge fund manager who recently just lost his brother to a suicide. He believes that the US Housing Market is stable and nothing is wrong about it until trader Jared Vennett who convinces him otherwise. Jared only heard of this from one of the bankers he dealt with that some crazy dude deals hundreds of millions of dollars in credit default swap. Mark Baum and his team soon finds out that everything is horrifyingly true as people from the bank keeps on giving loans to people who doesn’t have a decent job and can’t pay their debts in time or at all, some, like this stripper shocked Baum by explaining to him the she actually is paying for 5 houses and a condominium. That’s when they’re convinced and accepts the deal with Vennett to join each other and also create a deal with the banks to swap market.

Young and aspiring investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) desires to be on top but since lack of experience pulls them down, a sudden encounter with Michael Burry’s conclusion about the US Housing Market in their interview lead them to realize that they can make a lot of money out of it. But they still need help, someone who knows the inside  better than them. Enters Brad Pitt who looks and acts effortlessly as the retired banker Ben Rickert who helps the two reach their dreams. Rickert lives quietly on his own, left the world of banking years because of its dirty and some, immoral ways on being the best. Brad Pitt puts the gravity on the effect of these transactions to the viewers, that while you’re getting rich, the people will be losing their money, their jobs and their houses. That’s when the film punches its core, that even though everything is about money and the chaos about to unfold, a side of those who doesn’t know about a thing that’t about to happen are also involved in the most unfortunate way.

The Big Short is big on stars and nothing short on substance. Christian Bale and Steve Carell both got nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actor for a reason. And the film being nominated as Best Picture is not surprising at all. It’s well-written, the actors are tremendously effective and the story telling is unusual but it keeps you entertained even in the most uninteresting topics the film tackles.

The film discusses eye-opening events that are insane and will make you mad for the people that disregarded the possible outcome of being careless. It’s too much to absorb especially those who are new to business, banking and financing terms but its treatment is refreshing, making it an entertaining yet informative film about one of the biggest financial crisis of our time.

The Big Short


4 Stars

“The Big Short” opens January 20 at select cinemas in the Philippines from United International Pictures Philippines, distributed through Columbia Pictures. Rated R-13 by the MTRCB.

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