If you know me, you’d probably be aware of the lack of affinity and/or love that I have with numbers. Which is why I was a bit overwhelmed about the premise of ‘The Big Short’ which tackles the pre-collapse of the housing market in 2008.
Finance, Banking, Mortgages, these things aren’t really my cup of tea but as I was watching the movie, I didn’t get lost with the terminologies and concepts presented in the film.
You have to hand it to the producers and director Adam McKay who presented complicated concepts in such a fun and refreshing way. Even getting help from some of this generations most sought after stars. (Margot Robbie, in a bathtub seems to be an effective teaching tool) After the movie, I actually left with a little more knowledge in financing. (Something, that even my Math teachers couldn’t accomplish).
So, if you are expecting a boring and mundane lecture then boy are you in for a pleasant surprise!
‘The Big Short’ does not only rely on it’s refreshing (and sometimes hilarious) approach to explain the financial concepts to which the story revolves in but it is the powerful and moving, albeit awkward (because that’s who the characters are) performance which drives the film, hitting that nail in a hard and precise stroke.
Oscar winning actor Christian Bale truly deserves the nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Micheal Burry, the eccentric yet brilliant one-eyed doctor-turned-money manager. The movie opens with this awkward, socially challenged mathematician who wears shirt and shorts (sometimes, weeks in the same outfit) and chooses to go barefoot at work. He clutches a pair of drumsticks and goes on with probably the most uncomfortable job interview with an applicant. Dr. Micheal Burry loves listening to speed metal and his office blasts with metal music, much to the inconvenience of his partners. For a drum sequence, Christian Bale learned how to play the drums in two weeks and did the scene, despite a knee injury.
You might think of Steve Carrel as just another comedian but the Oscar nominated actor gives an amazing performance as the rage-filled (let’s say, he has some anger management issues) hedge-fund manager Mark Baum. Haunted by the suicide of his brother, Carrel’s Mark Baum serves as the moral compass of the story. Ironically Mark is fighting a system he works in, he knows that it’s a dirty industry and by ‘shorting’ the housing market it’s a big ‘Up Yours!’ to the big banks but being right also means a lot of human collateral, people will loose their homes and jobs. Mark is conflicted becasue making a lot of money also means ‘screwing over the middle class’ and for Mark, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Steve Carrel is amazing in his Oscar nominated role.
Oscar-nominated actor, Ryan Gosling is smooth and slick Deutsche Bank deal maker Jared Vennet. His role is a stark contrast to his awkward and socially awkward colleagues (Mark Baum and Micheal Burry). Vennet is a smooth talking Wall Street insider, who also pulls double duty as the movie’s narrator, at times, even addressing the audience, complete with staring into the directly into the camera. Something, which I really enjoyed.
Aside from the amazing performances and enlightening financial crash course, ‘The Big Short’ packs a lot of visual drama, through their use of different ‘bokeh’ shots which had my jaw drop at some scenes. They also have a very interesting choice in songs for the film, my brain doing a complete ‘Hey, wait a minute’ when I heard the Japanse version of ‘Ikaw Parin’ by Ted Ito.
9.5/10 ⭐️s (just because it was a bit too long at 2 hours and 10 minutes).
The Big Short is the financial drama-comedy your Math/Accounting teacher wished they showed you and/or discussed in class. You don’t need a degree to enjoy this one. It is built on strong performances and a ‘push-the-envelope’ spunk which other movies, wish they had!
Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 20, 2016, “The Big Short” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.