The Big Short (2015) Review

The Big Short (2015)

Directed by Adam McKay

Based on The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the non-fiction 2010 book of the same name by Michael Lewis about the financial crisis of 2007–2008, which was triggered by the build-up of the housing market and the credit bubble.

My Opinion:

Seriously? The Big Snore is up for the Best Picture Oscar?? No. Just… No. It’s not a bad film but it is pretty damn… Hmm. I don’t know! Pretentious? Up its own arse? Kind of like the Academy, I suppose.

This was the movie I was talking about in my review of Spotlight when I said that the Academy is out of touch with the general public. This feels like the kind of movie that they nominate because they feel like they should. I’m not saying that stuff like Trainwreck or Jurassic World should be up for Oscars or anything like that. The general public likes a load of shit! But can a film not be “worthy” AND also be entertaining? Too many Oscar nominees in the last ten years are, quite frankly, just plain boring to watch. And what happened to movies that are just beautiful pieces of art? I’d say The Revenant fits that description – it’s absolutely beautiful. Where the HELL am I going with this argument?! I have no idea!!! πŸ˜‰ I mean, Mad Max: Fury Road is up for Best Picture and that movie kicks m*%#erf*%#ing ass so it invalidates my argument. Back to The Big Short

It probably doesn’t help that I was really disappointed at having to go to this movie since The Hateful Eight was sold out. However, it’s an Oscar nominee so I figured I’d at least appreciate it after making myself sit through it. Dammit – I can’t say that’s what happened.

The Big Short is not all bad and the story itself, although too complicated for us everyday idiots (as the movie constantly points out to us morons) is pretty damn fascinating. But, yes, you’re SO right BigShort-makers – I clearly am an idiot because all the talk of loans and numbers and banking did indeed make my eyes glaze over. Yes, I fully admit that I couldn’t follow any of that but I found the celebrity-cameo-fourth-wall-breaking childish explanations to be completely obnoxious. And they still made no damn sense of it all.

All the condescending breaking of the fourth wall aside, I did really like following some of the individual stories. This movie feels a bit messy as it focuses on so many different characters but I suppose it also gave me something to look forward to during the parts I didn’t care about so much.

My favorite parts by far involved Brad Pitt and the two young men his character worked with during this housing market loan bubble thingymabob gobbledegook. I thought Pitt was really good. Remember his very very early days when his acting was pretty dodgy? No, you’re all too young. Trust me – he’s now a very good actor compared to how he started out and he’s one of a handful of actors that may make me actually watch a movie I otherwise might have avoided.

I can’t stand Christian Bale (no reason – just can’t) and his character was in danger of being an annoying caricature but, by the end, his story was the one I enjoyed the most after the Pitt trio. But anytime Steve Carell or especially Ryan Gosling were on screen, I lost interest. They just didn’t work for me, especially Gosling’s arrogant whatever-the-hell kind of rich, straight, white, male scam artist he was.

The Big Short takes what could potentially be a rather boring story involving financial matters that it knows most of us won’t understand and manages to make a movie that is not only rather boring but also obnoxious by infusing humor that doesn’t quite work and by constantly reminding us that it’s smarter than its audience. But, if I’m not being so cynical, I suppose that’s the point the whole film is trying to make so it’s actually quite brilliant.

Basically, loads of Americans were lied to and sold the “American Dream” thing by big banks who ultimately f*%ed them over the way big money always does and the little guys all lost their homes while rich bankers got even richer. The rich bankers are smarter than us and the rich filmmakers are smarter than us. Okay, The Big Short, I guess I get the point you’re trying to make. Too bad I was too bored to care.

I’d watch a movie about this topic again as I do think it’s one hell of a crazy & scandalous story but I think I’d prefer to see it from the viewpoint of us everyday schmucks who always get screwed over. Or maybe in a slightly different style, at least. Financial shit is boring as hell but, hey, The Wolf Of Wall Street was FAR from boring. Maybe this would’ve been a better film if it had been made by Scorsese. Bonus points for Brad Pitt’s & Christian Bale’s characters, though – those bits help liven up what is otherwise a movie not really worthy of a Best Picture nomination.

My Rating: 5.5/10

** I went to Spotlight & The Big Short two Sundays ago on my own and, in between the two movies, I texted my husband. I just thought I’d share this as the predictive text really cracked me up. I’m easily amused… πŸ˜‰ My texts are in blue:

31 thoughts on “The Big Short (2015) Review

  1. hated, hated, hated this so much. cant believe i plan to watch it again before Oscar night, maybe by then I’ll have gotten smarter and I’ll understand this shit, but I doubt it πŸ™‚

  2. Agreed. I gave it higher marks just because McKays style, although quite jarring and pretentious, conveyed the frantic nature of wall street pretty well. I didn’t like the fourth wall technique…but I loved Carell’s performance πŸ™‚ Definitely overrated though πŸ˜›

    • Well, I originally gave it a 6 but hubby said that was too high after I trashed it in the review so I lowered it to shut him up. Lol. I actually think it deserves a slightly higher rating but I was just SO uninterested through the whole thing. It’s not a “bad” film, though. I’ve never been big on Carell but I did prefer him in Foxcatcher (and far preferred that film, too).

  3. Great review with great analysis. I hated a lot of the same parts. I was with it until they broke the 4th wall. The subject is complicated, but I think the characters explained it well enough.. to each other. The dumbing down and repeating the exact same info by having a celeb outright address us specifically and teach us with a kindergarten example was atrocious. This is what happens when the filmmakers try to please everyone, they alienate and condescend to actual cinephiles.

    I also thought Bale was overacting with those ticks. Actually, the casting of Bale and Pitt proved distracting, since neither has a standout moment. However, I really enjoyed Carrell. The young guys were interesting. Perhaps this should have been paired down to their story and Carrel’s.

    Documentaries are a much better way to learn about this subject, whereas a movie should provide entertainment and story. You’re right, Wolf of Wall Street handled similar subject matter much more effectively. That’s the big difference, corrupt businesses as handled by the director of Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, versus the guy who brought us Anchorman.

    • Haha!!! Exactly. I hate Anchorman. I actually didn’t bother to look up the director of this until five minutes before going into the movie as I was like “oh, shit”. I REALLY hate Bale so I think I was being nice in my review. πŸ˜‰ I did enjoy Pitt, though. I suppose Carell was fine but I preferred him in Foxcatcher (and far preferred the movie). But don’t listen to me – I’m clearly an idiot. As this movie kept pointing out to me… πŸ˜‰

      • While the movie may treat you like an idiot, you’re far from it πŸ˜‰ I liked Foxcatcher a lot more too! Pitt was good in the role, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately distracting as I expected some sort of big moment out of him. Props to him for playing such a subtle laidback role though.

  4. Sounds like low rent Oliver Stone. The scam subject matter made me think of a great movie from 2000,”Boiler Room.” It’s all about a phony investment firm. It’s probably the only time you’ll see Vin Diesel in a suit and tie.

    • Yeah, it was like Oliver Stone’s most boring films (I just watched Natural Born Killers for the first time over the weekend & actually liked that one. The Big Short isn’t like that). Hmm – I know of Boiler Room but not seen it. Can’t say I’ve watched many Vin Diesel films! I assume it’s better than most of his? πŸ™‚

  5. I absolutely loved this review, what a good laugh! I will check this out at some stage but it seemed that it was hit and miss, but a pretty big miss for most of the average, everyday moviegoer.

    Ah, autocorrect. The bane of my existence!

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  7. Haha! Ohh, autocorrect. That’s fucking hilarious.

    On this movie, I’m totally with you. I knew we were friends for a reason Mutey. πŸ˜‰ The Big Short as an Oscar nominee. Really? Actually wait a second. . . . it’s one of the most pretentious and obnoxiously self-aware movies (Deadpool-esque, but Deadpool pulls it off) Ive ever seen so of COURSE the Academy is going to swoon over it.

    I was impressed that this was a work by Adam McKay though, like if you consider what he has made in the past this one is completely different so I do have to at least respect his choices. I kind of hope he goes back to doing Will Ferrell comedies, though. Not going to lie. haha

    • YAY! Tom agrees with me! A lot of people loved this one but it just annoyed the shit out of me. Yeah, Deadpool pulls it off well but I suppose Deadpool didn’t treat its audience like idiots. I agree – I don’t like the Will Ferrell comedies myself but he should go back to doing those. πŸ™‚

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