The story of the home mortgage loan crisis leading to the global financial crash of 2008 is something that most didn’t see coming. The Housing Bubble is now something we now know all too well, but most do not truly understand. However, the true story of a few intellectual Wall Street guys Michael Burry, Mark Baum, Jared Vennett, Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller taking a closer look at the housing and banking industry and making billions off of the heart-breaking loss of millions of jobs, money-loss, and government scandal is a story that needs to be heard. Director and Screenwriter Adam McKay’s film The Big Short left the audience with a feeling of riveting candor to the world we already know, but choose to dismiss. Its play on popular culture, big money, and ignorant bliss is without a doubt enchanting. The filmography and character development is prime.
Adapted from Michael Lewis’ best selling book “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine”, the film tackles on some deeply complex real-life characters who saw the crash coming and decided to profit off of it by betting against the housing market investing into credit default swaps. Starring Hollywood’s leading men—Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.
Christian Bale’s character, Michael Burry, is introduced as an American hedge fund manager of Scion Capital and a stock market investor. His messy hair, glass eye, and old tee are as prominent as his socially awkward behavior. His nonchalant crazed demeanor is shown initially when he hires on a young ambitious interviewee who he asks to review thousands of individual mortgages (which no one does). After reviewing the data, Burry comes to the realization that most of the subprime mortgages are on the verge of failing. It is then where he decides to meet with as many banks as he can about putting billions of dollars of his Investor’s money to bet against the housing market. Christian Bale’s performance is Oscar-worthy and something unrecognizable. Since for the most part he filmed alone, Bale was able to sink deeper into unleashing a spot on portrayal.
With the word on the street being that a foolish man just handed over billions of dollars to the banks, Ryan Gosling’s character, Jared Vennett moved in for the kill. The alpha man who kicks everyone out of the men’s restroom when he is present, decides to steal Burry’s very idea after analyzing that the foolish man was right. After being rejected by a few banks, Vennett heads over to Mark Baum’s team for help.
Moving across Wall Street, Steve Carell’s character is introduced. Mark Baum is a hedge funder who hates the banking industry he works in but feels like he can change everything. His short exploding temper travels within each scene. This then leaves the audience forgetting the 40-year-old-virgin we all know and love. Instead, he becomes a very relatable man working hard and hindering on the realization that it is extremely difficult to make the world a better place, especially when that world is called Wall Street. Baum decides to investigate on whether the predictable housing bubble is truly foreseen. Meeting with rich bragging realtors and mortgage brokers who are profiting over giving out bad loans confirmed Vennett’s prediction, which led Baum to shake hands with his deal.
Actors Finn Wittrock and John Margaro’s characters, Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller, join the fun by teaming up with retired banking big shot Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt’s character). Rickert plays a humbled environmentalist who got out of the industry because of personal vindication of a corrupt business. Since they became successful in making investments in their parent’s garage, Shipley and Gellar simply want in with the big boys of banking. They wanted more. One banks rejection leaves the, already millionaire, young men hunting for blood. Credit default swaps became their calling and Rickert was their inside man.
Since most banking terms fly over our heads, McKay decided to help us out by dumbing down the confusing terminology with celebrity cameos. For your humor and viewing pleasure, big-screen hottie Margot Robbie breaks down the term “sub-prime mortgages” while in a hot tub naked, sipping champagne. Pop star Selena Gomez explains synthetic CDO’s (collateralized debt obligation) while playing Blackjack. This might seem insane between the midst of a dramatic plot unfolding. However, it was genius thanks to McKay’s mastermind of directing. Pop culture was a definite theme throughout the film using footage of MTV’s The Hills, ads of the introduction of the iPhone, and rap videos. Basically showing society’s blindness to what was really going on.
The end of the film takes a turn from the battle-like sensation of digging for answers to the pure turmoil of being right all along. These investors all had distinct mindsets after winning millions, even billions, of dollars after the crash in 2008. Audience reaction is solely melancholy. We know what already happened, but seeing it on the big-screen somehow made it different. Why? This is how I have come to admire McKay for taking on Michael Lewis’ book and creating a platform where people feel comfortable to sit and understand. Paramount’s The Big Short is the movie of the year to look out for! You can decide for yourself when it opens in theaters December 11th with a limited release and worldwide December 23rd.