Review: “The Big Short” Is A Comedy That Also Packs A Dramatic Punch



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Posted December 31, 2015 by

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In the mid-2000’s, the credit and housing bubbles were getting ready to pop (something that had never happened in American history), and only a small group of people saw it a few short years before it happened. Being laughed out of every building and every meeting, these men decided to bet against the big banks that seemed clueless, or just careless, about what was going on.


I’m not going to sit here and act like I knew the subject of this story before I watched the movie, or that I knew exactly what was going on during the film, but Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman) and Charles Randolph (The Interpreter, Love & Other Drugs) make this world that was foreign to me not only accessible, but enjoyable and extremely interesting. Getting lost throughout the film? Don’t worry: McKay and Randolph bring in people like Selena Gomez or Anthony Bourdain to explain everything to you in simpler terms. Ever watch a biopic that seems too crazy to be true? ‘The Big Short’ will actually stop in the middle of the action as characters come right out and tell you, “This is not how this happened in real life. I was never here. This is not how the conversation went”, etc. It’s a breath of fresh air that the filmmakers understand their subject is confusing but they don’t treat you like you’re stupid; they include you in on the fun.

With a cast like this, of course the acting is great. From Christian Bale as a one-eyed doctor-turned-investor, to Steve Carell as a ruthless and honest businessman that has a strong sense of morality, everyone hits their marks time and time again. Ryan Gosling serves as the narrator and offers a lot of the comedy when the story is packed full of drama. That’s one of the biggest things I took away from this film: while you’re laughing, cheering against the bankers, hoping ‘the good guys’ will win the fight, you also realize what that means in the grand scheme of things (and what it meant in reality) and you become sad; you realize what was going on and it’s almost too much to take. There’s a moment that snaps you out of all of the fun and that’s when Ben Rickert (Pitt) tells his celebrating business partners to stop. To take a moment and realize what they’re so excited about. Yes, if they’re right, the big bankers will (or should) pay for what they’ve done, but ultimately it’s the American people, people that have nothing to do with what’s happening, that will be blamed. It’s a wake up call in the midst of all the fun we’re having with the movie to understand that, yes, there’s comedy, but there’s also horrifying truths throughout this movie.

Adam McKay has stepped up his game. He’s gone from writing slapstick comedy to writing a poignant and brilliant comedy/drama that will stick with you long after it’s over.





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