The Big Short

The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015) wr. Charles Randolph and the director, from the book by Michael Lewis, based on events in 2007 prior to the GFC

Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling

The film I saw most previously that was like this in being based on true events (and real people, in this case) was Spotlight, which, like this, was also an enjoyable tour through unfamiliar territory that I thought at the outset would be of little interest. But whereas the newspaper film was a straightforward, well-constructed drama, this one uses some tricks to maintain interest, tricks like characters' addresses to camera, real-life montages, and even using real people (who are not characters in the film) giving mini-lectures on economic topics. It even manages to be humorous, while dealing with serious matters. The two hours flew by, again.

Both films have an axe to grind - as documentaries often do (tho these are not). Both end with cards - printed epilogues - which point out that the situations they reveal are still current problems. Spotlight gives a long list of court actions against the Catholic church. The Big Short points out that all the big financial players - the banks and so on - came out of the GFC completely unscathed, and are still engaged in dodgy practices like sub-prime mortgages. The news this very morning (3 March 2017) on the Australian national broadcaster was partly concerned with the current housing bubble, particularly in Sydney.

'Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do', goes a piece of narration in The Big Short, just before introducing Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to explain subprime loans in short words we punters can understand, the idea being that the bored and horny commoner who glazes over during any discussion of finance will be riveted by a nude Aussie sipping champagne in the tub. Nick Pinkerton, in his review of Vice.

Garry Gillard | New: 2 March, 2017 | Now: 13 June, 2019