ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

Directed by Adam Mckay and starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, The Big Short is the true story of 2008 housing market collapse. The movie focuses on Wall Street analysts figuring out the situation.

The cast for The Big Short is incredible, the four headliners do a fantastic job with Christian Bale being the stand out as Dr Michael Burry, the man who first realizes that the housing market is a "ticking time bomb" and jumps on the situation early and bets on all the right numbers to make some money from it all. Because there are so many stars and the film will cut between all of them in their own individual stories, it often feels scattered and isn't as coherent as it could have been. I like that it switches between the four stars so that we get different angles on the collapse but I would have liked it to be a little more tightly packaged.

The most intriguing aspect of the film is surprisingly not the star studded cast, but is instead director Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman), a director primarily known for comedies. Whilst The Big Short is funny and witty, I wouldn't throw it in the same category as his other films. McKay does a very good job directing this film, I personally would not have nominated him for Best Director at the Oscars but it's understandable why he's got such buzz surrounding him. He does a good job of simplifying the Wall Street and banking situation as much as he can so that the majority of audiences can understand and follow the situation. But for the most part, I didn't really care all that much. There are a couple of scenes which really hooked me, but I never got fully invested in either the story or the characters. That being said I was impressed at how well the film was paced, it's very well edited and has an incredible energy to it.

The movie got me whenever it focused on what was happening to people with the whole housing market crash, Brad Pitt gets a great moment explaining that whilst individuals are profiting from the situation, millions of Americans will lose their homes. But the rest of the time, there's a lot of numbers being thrown around, a lot of banking terms, and for someone who has little interest in all of that, it didn't reach out to grab me and for a couple of scenes I was left feeling rather lost. McKay does try and simplify it as much as possible, he'll even cut to a celebrity cameo who will put the situation in laymen's terms for the audience to follow along.

The style of the film was at times off putting, it takes a documentary type approach to its camerawork and whilst sometimes I can see it's there to make the events seem as real as possible, it often felt a bit gimmicky. Characters will also at times break the fourth wall and explain events to the audience, again, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Ryan Gosling's character was often the one to break the fourth wall and narrate for us and he was very good in the film. I've also got to mention Steve Carell, who gave a stellar performance in last years Foxcatcher, and with his performance here, he's proven that was not a fluke and he's more than the just the comedy actor we've come to know him as. He gives a very angry, irritated performance here and he really delivered.

The Big Short isn't quite the masterpiece that it's being made out to be this awards season, it's an entertaining, frenetically paced film with some great performances and showcases what McKay can do other than straight up comedies, but it never got me fully invested in the story. The film has it's moments but as a whole it never hit me the way I was hoping for.

What did you think of The Big Short? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97


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