I have never understood financial gibberish. Not because I’m stupid, but because I was never into maths or anything of the sort, so one would think that a film that spends its two hours talking about the stock market and mortgages wouldn’t be engaging from my point of view.
But that is not what happens with The Big Short. True, the first twenty minutes I was a bit confused and wasn’t completely sure of what was going on, but after everything got settled I could fully comprehend the plot (more or less) and enjoy its audacity and what it makes this movie stand out.
What Anchorman director Adam McKay (on his first dramatic film) does here is a twist on storytelling by having Ryan Gosling’s character act as a narrator who keeps breaking the fourth wall. But it’s not just him: every now and then, a character in the film would turn to the camera to explain something, or to let us know that that particular scene actually happened in real life or that it had been dramatized for movie purposes. That is probably one of the more riveting aspects of The Big Short.
Is it good enough to be one of the best films of the year? I wouldn’t know what to say. Its innovation certainly helps, and it is the kind of film that grows on you. As I have mentioned above, the beginning of the film was difficult for me, and I was starting to think that the movie was not worth it until it came to a point where I found myself being truly entertained. It might also have something to do with the script’s (also by McKay) dry sense of humour, which I loved. Imagine the Anchorman characters doing Wall Street.
But if I had to point out my favourite bit of the movie, that thing that for me makes it stand out, that would be the performances of Christian Bale and Steve Carell. Yes, it is an ensemble cast with strong acting names like Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei or Ryan Gosling, but it is Bale and Carell who give the most memorable performances, especially Bale as some sort of Sheldon Cooper-meets-Patrick Bateman (minus the killing), and to be fair, I would give him the Oscar this year.
But I strongly advise you to learn a few words about banking, stock market and mortgages before you go and see this film –although they give you some definitions throughout the movie (they know nobody understands a single thing).
I leave you with one thought from the end of the film that it stuck with me: in the end, everything always gets blamed on the immigrants and the poor.
(Note: I recommend you to watch some films directed by McKay, especially The Other Two and Anchorman –the first one, though. The second one is a bit meh).