The Big Short is the film adaptation of the best selling book of the same name by Michael Lewis. Lewis tells the story of a small group who predicted the housing market crash brought on by bad loans. Michael Burry was one of the first to bet against the market, which ultimately led to him making a personal profit of well over $100 million.
Adam McKay does a fantastic job with this difficult story. McKay is famous for films like Anchorman, Step Brothers and Talladega Nights. But here he tackles a very serious subject and delivers it with a subtle blend of dark comedy and tragedy. There are strange cameos from the likes of Margot Robbie, who give dumbed-down explanations of CDO's, credit default swaps and what a short is. McKay has a number of characters breaking the fourth wall, to keep the audience engaged.
It is fair to say, the cast is fantastic. Christian Bale pulls an award-winning performance as Michael Burry. Ryan Gosling is brilliant playing a superbly vain executive from Deutsche Bank. He also narrates the story throughout the film. Brad Pitt is great, but the real stand out is Steve Carrell. Carrell plays Mark Baum who worked for a unit of Morgan Stanley, his performance is tragically powerful and magnifies how absurd the whole situation was.
Overall, for a movie that is based on finance, generally, a subject that is not that exciting – The Big Short does a fantastic job. I really expected this film to be a bit of a grind. However, I was totally engaged from start to finish, the two hours ten minutes flashed by. If, like most of us, the financial crisis was a little overwhelming this film is a must watch. Now also available on Netflix UK.