I’ve taught English and Film for my entire ten-year teacher career. I learned in my time studying literature and films that most stories consist of a character that will change throughout the course of the story. I’ve found that I’m a big fan of stories where not only the character changes, but also when I feel as though I have changed. As though seeing or hearing this story has left on a mark on my personality or my intellect. The Big Short, which has an 8.0 out of 10 starts on IMDB and 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, is a movie based on a true story that definitely impacted me.
The story is set in 2006-2008 and shows the story of four different sets of individuals that foresaw, in some way, the housing crash. Everyone my age remembers hearing about it, watching the banks get bailouts, and hearing it wasn’t a good time to buy or sell houses, but this is a smaller story amongst all of that and how these people were looked at as crazy. The story sounds dramatic, but the telling of the story has elements of comedy and moves much quicker than one might expect.
Christian Bale’s performance I believe was the best as he played Michael Burry, the man who initiates the idea of buying shorts (the movie explains this so I won’t). This character has many quirks and Bale really seems to nail them all. He expertly delivers the character’s emotions and really makes him a sympathetic individual in this story. Steve Carell, playing Mark Baum, only strengthens my argument that he is a better dramatic actor than comedic. I generally am not a fan of his comedic roles, for example I am the only person that I know who was happy when Michael Scott left the office, but love him in the Way Way Back and Dan in Real Life. This movie was more of that side of Carell that I enjoy.
Bail and Carell aren’t alone of course, Ryan Gosling offers one of my favorite performances of his and Brad Pitt’s role is small, but effective. Finn Wittrock and John Magaro are the newer faces in this film and they hold their own with the likes of the Hollywood heavy hitters. Add in smaller roles of Marisa Tomei, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, and Hamish Linklater, and the movie is full of really strong performances that help tell the story.
This movie is a great example of a rollercoaster ride. I laughed out loud more at this film than any other I remember seeing in the past year with the exception of Trainwreck. Then, this movie also made me sick to my stomach as they paint the corrupt picture of the American banking industry. I said I left feeling changed and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to apply for another mortgage without two or three lawyers helping with the process. Seriously, I was looking into buying a house about six months ago, and I felt completely unprepared for the process. This movie cemented that I was in over my head and I now know I need to do lots more research.
Adam McKay did amazing job with the vision of this story. The pacing was quick, the story delivery had a nice balance of verbal and visual, and created an interesting tone that kept the seriousness of the topic mixed with captivating comedic moments. I definitely think this is a must see and should receive an Oscar nod. I give The Big Short 9 out of 10 CDOs.