Film Review: The Big Short
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★★★★☆ The Big Short is legendary comedy director, Adam McKay's first step towards a more serious tone, with what many critics might call a dramedy. However, as much as the trailer wants you to believe that, The Big Short is generously peppered with laughs and gradually get's angrier and angrier as its plot rolls on. In fact, such is the level of calamity and paranoia that permeates the latter scenes, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a prequel to 2015's post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road. The film opens in 2005, when Christian Bale's Michael Burry nonchalantly uncovers what will become the bursting of the housing and credit bubble. As the rest of this impressively compiled cast do the same, McKay takes us on a journey that tows the line between a financial themed Ocean's Eleven, and a docudrama. Without spoiling anything, there are certain devices used in The Big Short to navigate the problem of exposition in a movie full of financial jargon. Depending on the viewer, these devices could be taken as humorous and endearing vignettes, or utterly condescending skits which break from the film's very deliberate tone. It took me a while to settle in to The Big Short, but once I accepted the movie's tone, the second half of the film was engaging and entertaining. Also, with the bankers up to their old tricks and some journalists predicting the emergence of another bubble, this is a timely release date for a film about a financial crash. Performance wise, Bale and Carell stand out as two men in the world of high-finance, who react very differently to the level of fraud and corruption found on Wall Street and beyond. It's interesting to think of this as a period piece, as the crash only happened ten years ago, but perhaps the strongest aspect of this film is that it reminds us of the fragility of our financial institutions, whist the government trotts out the same old narrative about an economic recovery.
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