The Big Short (2015) (R)
Adam McKay's "The Big Short" is the movie that you're meant to see. It's about something that arguable effects you to this day and it's message is short and clear: you were and still are being fucked. It in no way tries to sugarcoat this; but maybe the flashy way the movie instructs its audience about the housing market and things like C.O.D.'s is a little glib for such a grim message, but I think that's where the movie excels the most: celebrate in your demise.
The housing bubble, as presented by Jared Venett (Ryan Gosling) was doomed to fail the moment its inception was made profitable. Although the movie does not exactly critique capitalism in general, we can hear echoes of Michael Douglas saying "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good" through every scene of the film.
Yet we know how this is going to end, but what's so very, very clever about the movie is how it makes us cheer for people, who in every other scenario would have been the villain. This isn't an "Ocean's Eleven" type of lovable thieves, no, we are actually cheering for people who made millions when thousands of people lost everything.
Michael Burry, (Christian Bale) is the first to notice that something isn't right. He hypothesizes, and math is on his side, that the housing "bubble" isn't impenetrable and so he does the daring: he bets against it. Since no one cares to hear his point of view and everyone is too concerned with the money the market brings them, they take his money and erase the fact that should he be right, they will be bankrupt and he'll be rich.
Then you have Mark Baum (Steve Carell), a man of emotional history who is approached by Jared Venett and told of the unstable market. And then another two guys Charlie and Jamie, who discover the same thing as they are trying to make it big in Wall Street.
So these three separate camps, who never meet each other, are all betting against the market with the knowledge that should it go, it will go big and hard.
Hence the name.
"The Big Short" plays like the most entertaining training video you have to watch for work. Gosling's Venett is keen on this idea as he constantly breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience to lighten up with things like "Margot Robbie in a bathtub" or "Selena Gomez and a Dr. in Vegas". This is a movie that not only attempts to play the narrative of the housing market collapse, but also attempts to educate the viewer as much as possible.
And the future is dire. The movie is flashy but this is much like "The Wolf of Wall Street", all that glitters will eventually fall down and kill you. So maybe you should be stuffing your money under your bed, or maybe you should be reconsidering your stocks.
Whatever you personally do, "The Big Short" is a movie that deserves to be seen not only because it tells an important story, but because it is made for consumption.
It's wickedly written, perfectly acted (Carell in particular is amazing), and entertaining through and through.
Posted by Micah Jones