In 2013, Paramount acquired the rights to the comedy drama The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Big Short, directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Tom Burgandy and Talladega Nights) is based on Michael Lewis‘s (The Blind Side, Money Ball) 2010 best-selling novel (same title as film) in which he depicts the true story of the financial crisis in the mid-2000s.
The film attempts to explain how the seemingly rock-solid U.S. housing market went from solid and secure to “nosebleed-inducingly” worthless overnight as well as conveying the message in Big Short: that “the doomsday omens were there to see…but no one wanted to see them.”
The film follows the true story of four groups of outsiders in the world of high finance who predicted and bet against the credit and housing bubble collapse from 2007-2010 just as it was about to burst when they decided to take on big banking. Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell portray the four key players in the creation of the credit card swap market that sought to bet against the debt bubble and ended up actually profiting from the crisis.
The men’s bold investment leads them into the dark underside of modern banking, forcing them to question everyone and everything. When Michael Burry, Jared Vennett, Ben Rickert and Mark Baum saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short.
According to Cinema Blend, the cast of McKay’s Big Short is one of the best, as it has already brought together some amazing names. “It’s always exciting when large-scale ensemble dramas are announced. These projects open up special doors that allow some of the best actors in the industry to work with and bounce off each other…it’s fun to watch and see just how many A-listers can be packaged into one feature.” Bale portrays hedge fund manager Michael Burry, an awkward genius who has one eye, no social skills, sleeps on the floor of his office…and makes millions of dollars for his clients by finding trends so early that they are not even “trends” yet.
Gosling portrays the unreliable “over-tanned, over-caffeinated trader of the 21st century” Jared Vennett. The role of Ben Rickert, the “shaggy and disaffected” former banker gone rogue is held by Pitt (whose screen time is surprisingly limited). Mark Baum, The the anti-authoritarian hedge funder and voice of reason who “loathes the corruption Wall Street has bred” is played by Carell, who “essentially serves as the heart of the otherwise cynical film.”
All of the actors in Big Short excel: Bale is committed to mannerisms, Gosling is very funny and Pitt is the proper balance of excited and depressed by numbers and money. But it is Carell who steals the movie and is casted as the biggest character “outside of the schemes” and with the a more extensive backstory than the other three. The actors’ impeccable performances in Big Short make the film exceptional. The stunning directional talent of McKay however, makes the film possible. I
t’s hard to believe that Big Short is McKay’s first dramatic feature, as he weaves these outsized characters effortlessly. He also uses a unique method inserting playful breaks whenever the characters’ “against-the-grain schemes” start to get to the point of becoming too complicated. This technique spares the audience of confusion and boredom, two issues often raised during scenes that have extensive conversations loaded with jargon.
McKay, Pitt, Carell, Gosling, Bale and the rest of the cast and crew deserve a round of applause…no…a standing ovation. “The Big Short is that rare movie that uses popular culture to direct our attention to something far more important.” Not only does the film do this…it does it extraordinarily well.
The Big Short will be released in select theaters on Dec. 11 and worldwide Dec. 23.
The film’s runtime is 2 hr. 10 min. and is rated R.