Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt.
Written By: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay.
Run Time: 130 Minutes.
I guarantee the first thing you think when you remember the collapse of the housing market in the mid 2000s is not comedy, yet somehow The Big Short manages to make such bleak subject matter witty and entertaining. Although, is this really such a surprise coming from the man who has written and directed both of the Anchorman films? While it may not be slapstick hilarious like Anchorman, The Big Short manages to be consistently funny throughout, while also dealing with some of the darker material of the topic.
If, like me, the idea of being able to follow a movie about the collapse of the housing market seems daunting, fear not! The Big Short manages to simplify all of the financial jargon and make the whole thing simple to understand. This is achieved through the humorous inclusion of celebrities, playing themselves, to explain anything the audience may not understand by talking directly to them. That’s right, I now understand what happened to the housing market because Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez explained it to me.
Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a man who began looking into the housing market and discovered it was all about to come crashing down. Learning this information he decided to short the stocks of the banks, basically betting against them using the worth of his own company. Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell play men that follow in Burry’s footsteps and take the risk of betting against the banks, both having a lot to lose if Burry’s predictions don’t play out the way he hopes.
The cast for The Big Short are all fantastic. Steve Carell is continuing to show that he has far more depth than just being a typecast comedic actor. He has shown some serious dramatic acting chops in the past few years – hopefully he continues to do so. Christian Bale has been Oscar nominated for his role as Michael Burry, and this particular character manages to bring both poignancy and laughter to the film and sometimes all within the same scene. The standout performance of the cast is Ryan Gosling. He brings an air of confidence to the film that, without him, The Big Short would have been seriously lacking. There are also some fine performances from Marisa Tomei and Brad Pitt, who serves as a producer for the film.
Verdict: Funny, fresh and confident. McKay has proven he has talent beyond slapstick comedy by assembling a great cast and making a daunting subject seem easy to understand – and even hilarious.