Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: Offensive Language and Nudity
Christian Bale as Dr. Michael Burry
Steve Carell as Mark Baum
Ryan Gosling as Jared Vennett
Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert
Director: Adam McKay
When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything.
The Big Short is a movie that interested me because of the great cast and director, and also because of all the awards it was being nominated for. After seeing it I can say that The Big Short is a really good movie that manages to portray a pretty complicated and significant event in history. It has excellent acting, smart writing and does well in explaining what happened with the collapse of the economy. The movie doesn’t always get everything right in the latter aspect but what they get right, they really get right.
Director Adam McKay has been mostly known for comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers but with The Big Short he made his start in drama and I think he did a good job. One of my main concerns going in was the fact that the film needed to explain complicated concepts to the audience, and it could leave the audience lost if not done right. Fortunately the film make it easier through various means such as breaking the fourth wall (a lot of the time with Ryan Gosling’s character), and by doing things like having celebrity cameos explain complicated concepts. I didn’t understand everything that was going on but I got the general idea, so just know going in that you likely won’t get everything that they explain. There are so many characters in the movie that at times it is pretty easy to lose track, however like the concepts, I could get the general idea of who they were and what they were doing.
This cast is huge and A-list. Christian Bale is really good as the guy who basically discovers that the collapse of the economy will happen. You don’t see him as much as some of the other actors but he is great when he’s on screen. Steve Carell gives one of his best performances yet, proving that his dramatic turn in Foxcatcher wasn’t just a one off. Ryan Gosling was also great in this movie, we don’t really get much insight into his character but he was entertaining, even if I would’ve liked if the film explored his character more. Brad Pitt has a small role and doesn’t have a lot of screen time but he is good when he’s on screen. All the other supporting actors do a good job in their roles as well.
The camerawork at times could be a little shaky and handheld, sometimes it worked and other times it was a little distracting. Apart from that I really like the style that McKay used, it’s fast, entertaining and energetic but it’s not stealing the style from The Wolf of Wall Street. The transitions in time periods I thought also was a nice addition, by intercutting lots of clips of key events that happened in history between the previous event and the event it was jumping to.
Although The Big Short at times does misstep with some aspects like the camerawork isn’t always the best and not all the concepts were completely understandable, for the most part The Big Short gets it right, with great writing, excellent performances, a good style and its overall a really good movie. Even if I couldn’t understand everything that was going on, the fact that it managed to get me to understand at least some of the concepts in a movie is worth praising alone. Definitely check this movie out when you get a chance, but know going in that it will be a little more technical and complicated than you would initially imagine.