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For many years I have said that my brother got the money gene and I got the good looking gene and, once again, “The Big Short” may prove that true. The film is about the financial collapse in 2008 and those who made billions of dollars while an unaccountable number of people lost their homes and/or jobs. Much is made of the fact that many behind the scene, knowing what was going on, didn’t do a thing to stop it and got away scot free.
The film, with humor at odds with the theme, tries to explain exactly how the collapse came about in terms that even people like me might understand including the actors talking to the audience. This latter gimmick is at first interesting, including Margot Robbie in a bubble bath drinking champagne and later Selena Gomez gambling in a Las Vegas casino explaining aspects of subprime mortgages, loans and other finances but it eventually becomes distracting when an actor breaks the fourth wall, making you tune out on what is being said.
Though it is very much an ensemble film certain actors stand out such as Brad Pitt, almost unrecognizable until you realize who it is, playing a retired banker, Christian Bale as, to say the least, a very eccentric hedge fund manager, Ryan Gosling as an investor and Steve Carell as a rude trader. Marisa Tomei and Melissa Leo, though good are more or less wasted.
What interested me were the actors I didn’t know or did know but couldn’t name them. In the former group was Finn Wittrock as a young investor and Rafe Spall, both very impressive, and in the latter Jeremy Strong, Hamish Linklater and Adepero Oduye.
Though the writers Charles Randolph and Adam McKay wrote the screen play, based on the book by Michael Lewis, using humor just doesn’t sit right with a subject we know does not have happy ending and brought the USA on the verge of collapse, affected the rest of the world and still does. The direction by McKay is hectic; the editing by Hank Corwin is confusing and the music, at times, jars the audience out of the movie.
Money gene or not, understanding finance or not, I found the actors more interesting than I did the movie. “The Big Short”, by its subject alone, should have been more effective even though you will shake your head as the screen shows what didn’t happen to the ones who caused the collapse.
“The Big Short” trailer



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