The Big Short – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

the big shortThe Big Short – 3.5/5 – In the midst of all that I watch; there is always a film that I wished I didn’t miss.  If still in theaters, I always get to chance to check back In January on those I missed.  This is one that I was fortunate to catch, a film nominated for best picture at the Oscars.  Dealing with the rise and fall of the housing market in 2008; the film follows four individuals whom discover the truth behind the curtain and try to make it out without losing it all.  In short (no pun intended); with the infusion of ‘real world’ elements and a mixture of comedy within the twisting terms of financial terminology; Adam McKay gives us a film that pushes you to the edge while also showing you why it is nominated as one of the best this year.

Premise: Four individuals find the bubbling of something unimaginable.  With a prediction of the housing bubble collapse, these four decide to take on the big banks and find a way to capitalize on their lack of foresight.

The cast is your basic ensemble cast.  Within that ensemble, there are a lot of strong leads that become the main focus.  Here are the prominent four:

Christian Bale as Michael Burry

Ryan Gosling as Jared Vennett

John Magaro as Charlie Geller

Steve Carell as Mark Baum

These four lead you through paralleling parts of the overall story.  In each of their individual tales, they provide strength through characterization of the situation.  The purity doesn’t come in the depth of each of the characters; it comes in how they are brought on screen.  They are brought as focal points through insertion; a process where the audience just comes into their lives ‘as is’ and move on from that point.  This technique downplays any need for characterization and allows the actors to personify uniqueness as they see fit.  This allows for an indifferent kind of acting, seeing people’s personalities come out with a reactive sense towards the ongoing events happening in their lives.  This allows the main cast to come across as poignant, stern, blunt brash and flawed through different angles.  That fragile balance helps provide a window into the situation without a need for any back stories.  With the secondary cast, they are simplified figures that play to the plot progression of the film.  They are mostly left as ‘background’ complexion.

The direction takes on a very informative approach.  It brings you ‘real world’ applications with a sensationalized touch of drama and comedy.   Adam McKay directs this film as he knows; through interactions, dialogue and heavy infusion of comedy.  McKay uses his comedic roots to bridge a conducive but serious tale.  With this fusion, he uses the multi-story technique; taking the main plot and unfolding it through various perspectives.  As the film begins, we ‘drop in’ to the characters through some exposition.  Each thread becomes a window into the unknown growing crisis of the financial institutions on Wall Street as they create this ‘bubble’ through the housing market.  As it unfolds, we are enraptured by this trivial situation.  The reason is because of the stylizing of dialogue driven commentary.  Through this, the characters create a space of interactive conversations.  You gather all this jargon through a script that is spiced with wit, charm and intrigue.  As much as it is an explanation of the building chaos, it is also relative on a grounded scale.  Also, throughout the bulk of the film we get a very unique perspective through the use of breaking the fourth wall.  Specifically:

Expositional fourth wall

This ‘intermission’ kind of moment gives an explanation of plot points (at that time) to the audience through a very comical way.  This helps bridge the gap of the condense elements of everything that’s ongoing through a focal point.  It allows pacing to stay steadfast and characters to continue through a purposeful motive.  The audience is allowed to stay even keel with what is going on (for the most part).  With that genuine touch felt through McKay’s direction, the backbone is very obvious and basic.  There isn’t anything out of the ordinary as it follows the situation ‘beat by beat’.  This simple focus allows for the multi-story element to add perspective to the chaos.  It sheds a light of truth and irony of how everything led to the House market collapse.  There is a brash, dark nature within the obvious; but the ignorance of those involved brings a morality question to the forefront.  Adam McKay’s directive shines because he is able to build something through an experience that’s comical, endearing and epiphany like.  Everything feels organic because of the amazing dialogue that drives moments.  Dealing with financial and real estate terms, he finds a balance between being informative and slick.  It captures the flaws of everything; showing what is really raw, riveting and tense.  For how amazing the dialogue is, the amount of information that does come can cause some drag (at times).  With the pace of the film moving quickly; the information being shelled out can be overwhelming.  There is not a lot of time to just sit and take it all in; it plays to the fact that you just ‘know’ what happens and tells you to just accept what is being said.  This may leave the audience with a spoon fed like syndrome.  Even when the film does condense and confuse, you stay enthralled by the heavy mixture of humanistic ripples through the conversations, interactions and failures beginning to crack these institutions.  As we reach the climax; the information comes to head and what the group of characters we have been following said would happen, happens.  As the epilogue brings the film to an end, you may feel a little more aware of the things that happen during this crisis, but at the same time entertained by the experience.

The visuals are basic when it comes to these kinds of stories.  You have a common look at lives in the modern world.  With a mixture of the typical office environment and ‘everyday’ New York City, it won’t blow you away through the lens.  The score is mute at best.  There are ‘moments’ of modern tracks to help ‘infuse’ comedy, but nothing to clamor over.

The Big Short is a film that may seem unappealing at first, but coming out you will be wrong.  Being directed by Adam McKay, we get a dramatic tensed film with slick, witty dialogue because of masterful timing of comedy.  There is a lot to take in; but by the end it will be well worth it.  I recommend this to any movie buff, fans of Adam McKay or just anyone that wants to watch something at the theaters.  This is a worthy choice for an outing at the movies.

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