Based on the novel ‘The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine’; this is the true story from three different perspectives of how the U.S mortage housing crisis in 2005 started, and eventually its downfall. Michael Burry (Christian Bale), a weird, quirky ex-physician turned cyclops, corporate moneyed-up business man and Scion Capital hedge fund manager. He prefers sporting typical shorts and a no brand t-shirt, playing with a tennis ball barefoot instead of your standard business man’s smart suit. Burry believes that the American housing market is built on a bubble of incredibly bad loans that will eventually burst within the next few years. The freedom to do as he pleases within his own company allows him to bet against the housing markets with the banks without consulting the board.
Being the greedy corporations that they are, the banks were more than happy to oblige his request without a second thought; this is something that has never happened in US history. The banks believe that Michael is crazy and a madman thus they are confident they will win the deal. Word on the grapevine reaches the ears of Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) with Deutschebank and as an investor, he believes he too can cash in on Burry’s ideologies. A phone call to FrontPoint Partners gets this intel into the hands of Mark Baum, a moral investor who is fed up with the corruption in this fraudulent system.
Movies like this really make my blood boil. This not due to the movie being necessarily bad. It’s more to do with the content matter. It’s subject is so close to the truth that the majority of people on the planet can relate to. The movie itself is excellent, riddled with lots of Wall Street lingo. But it was also great that we had random people explaining the really subject specific stuff like how these bad mortgages worked. We even had Karen Gillan (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Doctor Who) and Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, Wolf Wall Street) explaining stuff from inside a bathtub or on the poolside sunbathing thus talking directly to the audience and breaking the fourth wall as did Ryan Gosling many times
I left the cinema feeling pissed off and irritated with this movie because of how truthful it was. We live in a society where people in power do not care for its citizens. Capitalism is a Jurassic park and the ones who get rich get there through trickery and deceit by selling our average joe this hybrid mortgages that are made up of smaller loans they couldn’t sell but more importantly, simply telling people what they want to hear. They piled them together and gave it a different, sellable name without a care in the world.
They only care about lining their own pockets even if that means the majority of the public must suffer to do so. We live in an age where the banks and businesses like the ones in the film turn suffering into profit. Even our main protagonists made a profit of the stupidity off the housing market’s collapse. They were trying to do the right thing by making people aware although they made a lot of money afterwards. It’s a cruel game after all. Nobody wanted to hear the truth because it sounded so ridiculous. It hadn’t collapsed before, so why should it now? Well, there’s always a first time.
Mark Baum is a moral man but mentally conflicted as you’ll find out in the movie. But Carell’s performance is probably the best I’ve seen from him. I’m not a huge fan since the only films I’ve seen him do are trashy comedies but this movie shows that he has the straps to do proper serious acting. His character is very opinionated and he does not care if people don’t want to hear what he has to say. He will go ahead to say more for his appeasement than theirs. He’s created a bit of a reputation for himself for being an opinionated motor mouth and people just want him to shut up.
He’s also the one who asks the questions nobody wants to ask out of fear of what could happen. He’s moral yet pragmatic and follows his conscience. Many would call that a weakness in his line of work. But at the same time, he finds it difficult to read certain people. For example, there’s a scene early on the movie where they meet two guys who are boasting about how they ripped someone off without them knowing. He thinks they’re confessing to fraud. But in reality, they’re bragging and they don’t care. This rattles him and he sees that he must act otherwise he’ll never forgive himself.
“The truth is like poetry and most people fucking hate poetry”
Overheard In A Bar
This movie is political satire at its finest. It’s witty and comedic with a seriously grim undertone. It confirms already established cynicisms about banking corporations and Wall Street whilst temporarily restoring one’s faith in Hollywood. McKay has created something special here. He’s made something as ruthless as the economic crisis funny and intelligent which is aided by the great talent of Bale (American Psycho), Pitt (12 Years A Slave), Carell (Foxcatcher) and Gosling (Drive). But also supported by the cameo roles of Gillan and Robbie and furthermore the supporting cast in this story, Rafe Spall (Sons Of Liberty) and Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story) with John Magaro (Carol)
In conclusion, this movie is truly excellent. Great performances from all the cast but in my opinion, Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) stole the show with his Mr Spock-esque Mark Baum tapping into his half-human side. I also enjoyed the times when random actors as well as Gosling broke the fourth wall talking directly to us, the audience. Very well written, well-directed with a smart concept. Movies that tell the hard truths about humanity tend to be very depressing and I left the cinema angry and irritated yet this is something we all have to accept. A few guys got greedy, the money went to their heads and then the economy collapsed which resulted in a colossal meltdown. The fraudulent people didn’t get arrested for corruption amongst other things. Instead, we blamed the collapse on immigrants and poor poverty-stricken people.
“We live in an era of fraud in America. Not just in banking, but in government, education, religion, food. Even baseball…”