The Big Short

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The Big Short

Who would have thought the most scathing film about the Global Financial Crisis would come from a director best known for the Anchorman films? Based on Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, this focuses on the handful of money men who, leading up to the GFC, saw the crash coming.

The first was Michael Burry (Christian Bale), an investment fund manager who went through the mortgages that underpin much of the banking sector’s wild growth and discovered the safest bet he could lay was that everything was doomed. His investments attract the attention of arsehole banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who brings in angry hedge fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell). Meanwhile small fry investors Charles Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), lean on their retired mentor (Brad Pitt) to get them the cash to play with the big boys.

Director Adam McKay ditches characterisation in this whirlwind of a film to better cram in scenes where his bitter or nihilistic protagonists realise everything is doomed, occasionally pausing so celebrities – Margot Robbie in a bubble bath, Selena Gomez at a poker table – can explain exactly how various lethal financial devices were constructed. It’s a lot of fun; it’s also pretty darn angry at how all this came to pass.