The world of high finance comes to life in Adam McKay’s The Big Short which highlights the events of the 2007-2008 Global Recession in a film that is equal parts financial horror story, and thrilling step-by-step account of one of the most defining events of our time.
Adapted from Michael Lewis’ best-selling non-fiction account of the 2007-2008 financial crisis that followed the housing and credit bubbles, The Big Short tells the story of four determined finance experts (Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt) who set out to expose the corruption at the heart of America’s financial institutes.
You may have already read how the film is set for glory this awards season, but if it’s not enough to get you to the movies, then check out these five reasons below:
5. Ryan Gosling’s pin-striped shark
From the first frame audiences are introduced to business trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who guides the film with his sharp-tongued narration, and is our direct root into the events of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Gosling’s performance is a blend of focus, quick-wit, and a thoroughly unapologetic stance on opportunity and the chance to make extraordinary sums of money. But while it could be easy for Vennett to be made out as the villain of the piece, he’s shaped to be more of an alpha male financial anti-hero who’s in it for himself, and who ultimately deserves to profit from his actions, and wolf-like intelligence.
4. The high speed directing of Adam McKay
Director Adam McKay moves with the same speed of Wall Street’s high-speed currency markets in bringing this unbelievable story to the big screen. McKay’s passion for the film’s subject matter, and the eclectic cast of eccentric mavericks at its heart, shines through in every frame as the movie moves forward at breakneck pace. McKay cuts right to the heart of the story, and makes high finance accessible for all audience members, regardless of how much you know about economics.
3. Christian Bale – heavy metal hedge funder
Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, and complete with drumsticks while blasting heavy metal music through his iPod comes Christian Bale as wild card hedge fund manager Michael Burry M.D. Bale again gives a completely class act performance as the former neurosurgeon who starts his own hedge fund after becoming bored with surgery, and discovered the sub-prime mortgage crisis two years before it occurred. Bale completely commits as Burry, crafting one of the most compelling characters in recent film history.
2. Steve Carell – the angriest man on Wall Street
Leading the charge in The Big Short is Steve Carell as Mark Baum, the angriest hedge fund manager on Wall Street who has no love for authority or the big financial institutions. Carell portrays Baum as a financial crusader who is disgusted by the greed at the heart of America’s financial system, and is more open to short the sub-prime mortgage crisis in an effort to hurt the investment banking community than he is to just make pure profit. Carell is in terrific form as the opinionated and unrepentant Baum who is constantly getting into fights and won’t stand for letting things go. Carell’s performance as Baum is a career best moment, and his character cements the film and the ethics at its core.
1. Margot Robbie explaining corporate finance in a bubble bath
Image source: Paramount Pictures.