The Big Short


Hollywood has always been fascinated with money and how it's made - and lost. In recent years we've seen diverse titles such as Bonfire of the Vanities, Wall Street and its sequel, The Company Men and more recently The Wolf of Wall Street examining what greed can do to man and country. And now The Big Short can be added to that list with its take on the global financial crisis of 2008.

Although it caught millions of people out, 2008's financial crash wasn't a surprise to everyone. There were a small group of men that included hedge fund managers Michael Burry (Christian Bale) and Mark Baum (Steve Carell), and young investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) who not only predicted it, but put their own money and as well as that of their investors on it happening. So if it were to crash, they would be quids in.

boom reviews The Big Short
You wouldn't believe this smell. It's toxic. The worse thing is, i'm the only one in here.

But if there's one thing that bankers can't abide, it's losing money. So when it looked like the market truly was on shaky ground, the industry as a whole acted with no morals whatsoever, despite the livelihoods and homes of millions of not only Americans at risk, but even more so worldwide. The result was something that not even they could have predicted.

A film about a financial meltdown, even on a global scale can be a tough sell, particularly if Leonardo DiCaprio isn't in it. It didn't stop director Adam Mackay having a crack at it though, and he's roped in some big names to help out, with Bale and Carell, as well as Ryan Gosling, Melissa Leo and Brad Pitt.

The film is littered with financial jargon, which the film does its best to explain in an entertaining fashion; it takes a Sesame Street approach, but instead of Bert and Ernie explaining how it works, Mackay gets celebrities like Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain as themselves to explain just what a lot of this jargon really means.

boom reviews The Big Short
Oh God, i really did sound a dick on the Batman set.

Obviously with his comedic background (having directed Anchorman 2, The Other Guys and Step Brothers) Mackay does his best to keep things as light as possible, but he struggles to keep his narrative books balanced, with the film plagued with far too many dull facts and figures being bandies about.

He's also not helped out by not having any character to root for. The four main characters who may well have been canny enough to predict it happening, did nothing about it, except for making huge amounts of money from the suffering of millions around the world. Yay.

Although there are some nice touches here and there, as well as a great run out for Gosling in particular, the film works well as an essay, documenting the how's and why's of the crash. As a piece of engaging entertainment though, it might leave audiences feeling somewhat short changed.

we give this three out of five