The Big Short is complicated. But so are the causes of the nation’s housing bubble and the increasingly unstable bond markets, banks and credit default swaps that almost undid the nation’s — and the world’s — economy when that bubble finally burst in early 2007.
Give credit to director Adam McKay and his Ant-Man co-writer partner Charles Randolph for turning complex into clever, and for doing a pretty good job of explaining the unexplainable. How they help you understand the mechanics of the meltdown includes descriptions of financial instruments, from Selena Gomez and super model and actress Margo Robbie.
The movie is based on the true story of how a few traders figured out the bubble’s mechanics and shorted bonds, which assured them billions in profits while directing the pin to the balloon that would eventually pop the bubble.
Christian Bale and Steve Carell picked up Golden Globe nominations, and Bale grabbed a supporting actor Screen Actors Guild nod, as did the cast for outstanding performance by a cast. The Big Short also got best picture and screenwriting nominations. It’s that good.
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Both are wonderful, but Bale plays the type of character he has done before, while Carell continues to chart new career territory. Equally good are Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Marisa Tomei.
On the negative side, the movie only focuses on the greed of these traders and the banks, and blames them for the Great Recession. What is missed is the government’s role and how congressional action a few years before almost assured housing would encounter a big short.
Next week Mr. Movie looks at 2015 in movies — the good and the bad. Find it at www.tricityherald.com.
‘The Big Short’
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Selena Gomez, Margo Robbie
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and Fairchild’s Queensgate 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.