The Big Short

 

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Smart and stylish take on the economic crisis of 2008 from the director of the Anchorman films.

 

The recent economic crisis is given a make-over in this comic drama from Adam McKay, the director of the Anchorman films. And it’s based on a true story. What makes it so compelling are the characters that people the battlefield, real eccentrics who rose to the top of the cesspool in spite of their quirks. And, just as Cuba Gooding Jr immortalised the phrase “Show me the money!” in Jerry Maguire, so Christian Bale utters his own imperishable challenge in The Big Short: “Everybody’s wrong.” He plays Michael Burry, the real-life hedge fund manager and strategist who foresaw the collapse of the American economy back in 2005. Like all geniuses, he was not a conventional figure and turned up at the office in T-shirt, Bermuda shorts and sandals, with a pair of drum sticks clutched in his hands. 

 

The Big Short

Brad Pitt exhibiting unusual gravitas as Ben Rickert, modelled on the real-life head trader and Anglophile Ben Hockett

  

Arrogance was certainly a factor in the financial crisis, as was greed and bare-faced fraud. If you can’t tell your triple A-rated package from your bespoke tranche opportunity don’t worry. As one exasperated character exclaims: “It’s like two plus two equals fish.” The movers and shakers in this modern-day Western (where big words and complex terminology replace bullets and firearms) are boys with big toys with the state of the nation at stake. As well as being stylish, smart, fast and irreverent, it’s compelling stuff, and with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei reunited from Crazy, Stupid, Love. could well have been called Crazy, Stupid, Money..

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON       

  

Cast: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Tracy Letts, Karen Gillan, Margot Robbie (as herself), Selena Gomez (as herself), Anthony Bourdain (as himself).

  

Dir Adam McKay, Pro Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Arnon Milchan and Brad Pitt, Screenplay Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, Ph Barry Ackroyd, Pro Des Clayton Hartley, Ed Hank Corwin, Music Nicholas Britell, Costumes Susan Matheson.

 

Plan B Entertainment/Regency Enterprises-Paramount.

130 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 22 January 2016. Cert. 15.