THE BIG SHORT (2016)
I have to declare an interest – I had to sell a thriving business in 2009 as a direct result of the 2008 banking crisis. It was painful for both me and my investors, so a film about how some blokes made a fortune out of it did not appeal, but from almost the first scene I was hooked……
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pit
Largely base a real events The Big Short and has an almost documentary style. The narrative is intersperse with a few, very funny, talking head sequences to explain some of the trickier concepts. It is a modern working of the Emperor’s new clothes. In this real life variation, The Emperor is the Banking System and the Politicians. The Courtiers, who don’t care because they are making money are the Bankers and the Estate agents. The Villagers, who see what they are told to see are the rest of us. The little boy who, almost through innocence, sees the truth an autistic savant Hedge Fund Manager.
Unlike ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ which is filled with odious characters, the main protagonists here are, on the whole, reasonable human beings. The Savant played, brilliantly, by Christian Bale lacks social skills and is both impossible but vulnerable. The Narrator is cold and calculating but very truthful. The Whistle Blower is filled with passion and guilt in equal measure. Finally the Old Gun (Brad Pitt) and the Newbies fit nicely into the usual master/pupil relationship.
In fact all of our heroes are flawed but likeable. This means you have permission to engage with these characters and to care what happens to them. I never understand why film makers do not recognise this as the most important ingredient of any film, but often they don’t. Anyway here Adam McKay does, and as a result makes a movie that you can enjoy.
To sum up this film is informative, witty, and fun. You may leave the cinema feeling a bit angry. You may leave the cinema feeling a bit worried. You will, however, definitely leave the cinema feeling entertained and better informed. Oscars all round?