Michael Burry (Christian Bale), an eccentric hedge fund manager written off as being a bit of a crank realises before anybody else the scale of the colossal crisis that is about to unfold. The trouble is, will anyone believe him?
The Big Short reveals the true story of how a group of maverick outsiders saw the opportunity of a lifetime in the disaster that was about to hit. By betting against the banks, effectively betting against the U.S. economy, when they crash came, they hit the jackpot.
Like The Wolf of Wall Street and Margin Call before it, The Big Short explores the murky side of Wall Street behind the glamorous façade. It does so in a hugely entertaining way, it’s like an edge-of-your-seat heist movie as the group of men plot their next move as the inevitable crash hurtles ever closer.
What do we think?
The Big Short shows what happened after the banking heyday depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street, revealing the consequences of unbelievable levels of corruption, fraud and greed - and it is all true. The film zips along at breakneck speed, finding entertaining ways to explain complex financial concepts, such as a cameo from Margot Robbie drinking champagne in a bubble bath while explaining subprime mortgages.
Christian Bale received an Oscar nomination for his performance, but this film is really a team effort from a cracking ensemble cast with everyone playing their roles to perfection. Ryan Gosling’s slippery bond salesman acts as our guide through the world of Wall Street, while Steve Carell is a motor-mouthed investor willing to take a risky gamble. Brad Pitt plays a jaded retired banker who is reluctantly dragged back into the banking game.
The Big Short received five Oscar nominations in total, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, which it won. The script is sharp, funny and makes the complexities of the crisis understandable without dumbing anything down.
This is a smart, classy film which manages to be entertaining, enlightening and enraging all at the same time, but unlike the intricacies of subprime mortgages, it is never dull.
The Big Short trivia
- The cast includes four Oscar winners - Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Brad Pitt and Marisa Tomei, plus two Oscar nominees Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling.
- Director Adam McKay previously collaborated with Steve Carell on the Anchorman films.
- The Big Short is the second adaptation of a book by Michael Lewis produced by and starring Brad Pitt, the first was critically acclaimed baseball movie Moneyball.
- The real Michael Burry (the character played by Christian Bale) appears in the film as an extra.
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