The Big Short HD Digital Ultraviolet UV Code
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... riveting, and revolting, look at how Wall Street rigged the system
By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 25, 2015
"The Big Short" (2015 release; 130 min.) looks at a small group of people who came to realize that the housing bubble building up in the early and mid-2000 was unsustainable, and that the various financial products issued by Wall Street eventually would collapse. As the movie opens, we ge a short introduction on how banking evolved from a boring people's industry back in the 1980s to the hot shot market it would become in the new century. We then get introduced to Dr. Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), a socially awkward fellow who loves heavy metal music and has an uncanny nose for spotting new trends in the financial markets. We also get to know Mark Baum (played by Steve Carell), an investment manager recovering from his brother's suicide and bent on calling out BS whenever he sees it. At this point we're 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, this is the latest movie from pretty much the same production team that brought us "Moneyball" a few years ago, also based on the book by Michael Lewis, with Brad Pitt's "Plan B" production company being the main driver. Pitt, a central player in "Moneyball" here plays a smaller role. Second, "The Big Short" is directed by Adam McKay, best known for the "Anchorman" movies. In fact, there is a certain sense of irony and implausibility that is common to both "Anchorman" and "The Big Short". Not that "the Big Short" is a comedy or funny in any way. On the contrary, "The Big Short" is dead-serious in its assault on all things Wall Street, and rightfully so. You will revolt at the shady, and worse, practices that are going on. "An atomic bomb of stupidity and fraud" is how Steve Carell's character sums it up. Third, the acting performances are top-notch throughout, none more so (in my book anyway) than Christian Bale's tour de force as the socially awkward Dr. Burry. Ryan Gosling is also noteworthy, but the single biggest surprise is of course the cameo appearance by Selena Gomez, who pops in to explain the latest financial instrument ("synthetic CDO") in lay-man's terms. Yes, we literally get schooled by various celebrities (also appearing is Margot Robbie, among others) on what all the various financial products that the banks concoct mean in language that we can understand (not that it mattered, I still don't understand them). Lastly, please note that the camera work is quite rough, with endless super close-ups and/or out of focus shorts. It is the only aspect of an otherwise perfect movie that I'd call "an action movie for the brainiac". Also, if you wonder whether Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks" (which played prominently in the movie's trailer) is featured in the movie, no worries: it plays over the end titles.
"The Big Short" just opened in theaters and I couldn't wait to see it. The evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati on Christmas Eve was very well attended, I am happy to report. Given the critical acclaim the movie has been getting, I'm thinking this has all the makings of a solid Christmas season hit that will continue to build as it gathers steam in the upcoming awards season. In a sense, this movie is the perfect antidote to the new "Star Wars" movie, proving there is room for both. "The Big Short" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!