Writer/director Adam McKay (Anchorman) joins forces with Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment to adapt Michael Lewis’ best-seller The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which centers on the housing a credit bubble of the 2000s.
As a modern movie focused on the seedy side of high gloss finance, The Big Short is “bro-y” like Boiler Room with a frenetic, tautly edited energy of Wolf of Wall Street. The Big Short explains the lead up to the financial crisis in the context of a dense, mainstream comedy. From concept to execution, there is a lot to respect in this movie that it sweeps away audiences.
The strongest element of The Big Short is the wily screenplay which does everything from enhance comedic moments, insert sly one-liners, and simplifies complex financial theories and processes for ordinary audiences to understand. With pop culture references, detailed narration, and random scenes, there is a lot happening. This screenplay is asking for viewers to watch the movie over again.
There is great cluster of scenes that define The Big Short. A real estate agent drives the investors through a very wealthy neighborhood commenting on the economic reality of the owners. This is followed by a house party with bragging real estate agents who admit to unethical behavior at a rather gloating level. The next scene, features a stripper explaining to multiple houses she owns as she performs for Carrell. Finally, the main protagonist puts together their is a housing bubble. This was a highlight of the movie and telling to the overall crisis.
From the big performances to smaller roles, the energetic acting ensemble in The Big Short is impressive and admirable. Christian Bale was mesmerizing and has the best material to work with here. He excels reminding audiences just why this Oscar winning actor is fantastic. Gosling was a little one note, but wasn’t given much to do. Like last year’s Foxcatcher, Steve Carrell tries something outside of his range and Brad Pitt is rather coy compared to his star persona.
The conclusion of The Big Short is enraging for the cool kids. It oozes with cynicism during the season of sentimental moments. It is frustrating that we haven’t learned the lessons from the 2008 economic collapse. This populist bent for higher minded people, The Big Short reminded me of a cross between my two favorite 2009 movies which are the satire In The Loop and the drama Up In The Air.
Credit director Adam McKray for pulling this all together in The Big Short. Comparing his filmmaker resume which were low brow Will Ferrell comedies, Mr. McKray goes from sophomoric to sophisticated with a vibe that is something out of David O Russell for economic junkies. This could be a turning point in his career where an industry will begin to trust him with more complex screenplays.
Audiences have a lot of options this Holiday Season with movies. I think The Big Short is the best wide release for the season. The Big Short will keep the minds active of people who read Inc.com and browse LinkedIn during the numbing days of food and family that are The Holidays. Find this one and have a good time. I loved it.
About Kenny Miles
Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.