The Big Short Review

14 Dec


The Big Short is an angry movie, one that directs its rage at the system as it attempts to both educate and entertain you. It’s a very different approach to the topic than the ones taken by films like Margin Call or this year’s 99 Homes, but it’s without a doubt a very interesting one. McKay and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd bring an extremely frenetic style to the film, moving the camera in every direction possible so as to emphasize that Ackroyd learned a thing or two from his work on Paul Greengrass movies. The movie also has a very distinct style, utilizing real-life images and celebrity cameos and fourth wall-breaking techniques in order to keep the jargon manageable for the majority of viewers.

It’s not that it treats the audience members as stupid, though, but let’s be honest: many of them probably are. McKay’s point here is that the system takes advantage of ignorance, feeding off it and growing until it all just collapses at our feet…then grows yet again. The movie is essentially a lecture thrown in a blender with a comedy, and although its style brings diminishing returns, McCay still taps into his undeniable anger and delivers a solid critique of the factors that went into the financial crisis of 2008. He wants us to laugh, but he also wants us to understand.



-Sadly, the fantastic cast is so large that most of the actors are underused. Steve Carell ends up being the lead, and he does a good job of conveying the conflict playing out in his character’s head: yes, he’s in it for the money, but there’s also palpable anger at everything around him. Also, I did attend a screening that featured a Q&A with Carell and McKay, and it was decent. I would’ve liked to hear more about the actual topic–a la Spotlight‘s–and the movie’s style rather than, say, fun stories on set. However, Carell made a good point about McKay: if you know him and his work, you aren’t surprised that he made this movie.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures, The Big Short


4 Responses to “The Big Short Review”

  1. MovieManJackson December 14, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

    Movie hasn’t come out to my theater yet, but I am intrigued with viewing. Just interested to see how much I’ll mind the mix of drama and comedy, but the cast is great! Nice review.

  2. JustMeMike December 15, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    I’m in the same position as The Big Short has not opened in Sarasota, FL yet. But I will see and review this film. As someone who worked in the financial services industry, I may know more than let’s say the next guy. But in truth, having knowledge going in did not make me enjoy films like Margin Call and Arbitrage any more than some one with out some market savvy. If the film is good, it will be well received. While I cannot state that I know anything about Adam McKay, I am familiar with Michael Lewis, the author of the source book.

  3. peggyatthemovies December 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    Now I can read your review.. sorry had to finish and post mine from last weeks screening.. I loved the film.. I thought it was dark comedy at it’s best and Bale, Gosling & Carell really stood out for me..mostly Bale, but you are so’s a fantastic ensemble cast & I hope it wins the award for that!! 😀


  1. My Top 20 Films of 2015 | Polar Bears Watch TV - February 9, 2016

    […] The Big Short: A slickly made lecture-comedy hybrid with a distinct style and a dishearteningly eye-opening […]

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