This is my favorite film of 2015.
The Big Short was released nationwide (USA) on December 23, right before the surge of the numerous films being released on Christmas Day. Directed by Adam McKay, the film features a star-studded cast with combinations of drama and comedy. Ryan Gosling (Jared Vennett), Steve Carell (Mark Baum), Christian Bale (Michael Burry), and Brad Pitt (Ben Rickert) deliver excellent performances that accurately depict the chaotic times prior to the house market crash of 2008.
One might think that the topic of this film might be slightly difficult to comprehend. Fear not, because the film is set up in a way to where the average person can follow what is going on. It helps to go into the theater with a little knowledge of the story, so here is the background. (See first paragraph for casting references). Michael Burry discovers that the mortgage bonds are predominantly filled with high risk mortgages. They are given an acceptable label, and sold to investors. He sees that this process will lead to a market collapse. Ultimately, Burry goes to several banks, seeking to make an investment on the idea that the mortgages would fail. Jared Vennett catches wind of the prediction, and shares it with Mark Baum and his crew. Ben Rickert, a retired bond trader, aids two young traders in taking advantage of the prediction as well. Each of them made a huge profit once the market collapsed. Shockingly, out of all the people in the industry, it was only these guys who actually examined what was being sold. Of course, the bad guys-the ones who caused the failure-never got punished.
Why was The Big Short my favorite film of 2015? First of all, it was definitely the most creative. Wall Street events are not the most simple events to explain. I love the way Adam McKay went about explaining things to the audience. The unique editing style really made a difference. If you have ever watched The Office, this film will appeal to you. The way certain shots and segments of dialogue were delivered reminded me of the popular TV show.
It was comedic when necessary, but still delivered an overall dramatic and upsetting story. Jared Vennett was my favorite character. Ryan Gosling perfectly executed his role of an arrogant, stereotypical Wall Street investor. Most of his lines provided comedic relief. One of my favorite scenes in the film was a scene where Vennett is talking on the phone with Mark Baum, while in the bathroom. Several people walk into the bathroom, but Vennett orders them to leave so that his secret will not be heard. The way he asks people to leave is witty and hilarious. The fact that Vennett has a “sidekick” just adds to his conceited character.
Christian Bale and Steve Carell were both nominated for Golden Globes (Best Actor in a comedy or musical). In my opinion, these nominations were well-deserved. Bale’s character, Michael Burry, is an awkward man who has a glass eye. One cannot help but cringe every time he has to interact with other people. Nobody believed him and his prediction. But Burry really did not care, because he knew that he was right. Mark Baum (Carell) suffers from personal problems that affect his every day decisions about people and situations. Surprisingly, Baum is not the character that provides most of the comedy, as one might assume. Both performances are fun to watch.
Brad Pitt’s character, Ben Rickert, retired from the bond trading business because of the corruption he experienced. He is just a simple man who is fully aware of the consequences of the house market crash. His focus does not seem to be completely on money. Pitt was a terrific choice to play this role.
Overall, The Big Short did a fantastic job in explaining the story in a entertaining, innovative but compelling fashion. It is a film that I would not mind seeing again. Go see it over the Christmas break; I do not think that you will be disappointed.
(Image credit to ComingSoon.net)