Saturday, 30 April 2016

Review: The Big Short

by Layla Link

In January I went to see the new film The Big Short at the cinema and was expecting the best after reading reviews from the Guardian (4/5), Rotten Tomatoes (88%) and The Independent (4/5). 

The film was a dramatic reeling of the 2007-8 financial crisis. It is set in 2008; Michael Burry, an expert in finance, realises that a number of mortgages are in danger of defaulting. He bets against the housing market by throwing more than $1 billion of his investors’ money into it. His actions then attract the attention of banker Jared Vennett and his team. The story goes on from there.

I have to say I was slightly worried, after reading a summary, that mainly included the words Wall Street, subprime home loans and credit default swaps. However, an age rating of 15 reassured me it couldn’t be too hard to understand. That said, some of the finance terminology was hard to follow - so director Adam McKay included some kooky cameos: Selena Gomez at the gambling tables; Margot Robbie in a bubble bath-to explain the plot at key moments (a device that I didn’t find as effective as the film-makers imagine).

Such scenes were cleverly funny and relatable; however, they took me out of the film and gave it a weird shunting pace, especially as I didn’t know some of the celebrities. However, the rest of the drama is engrossing: it has both insight and a satirical bite, giving it a great tone. The script is also excellent and I loved the ironic ending. A thought-provoking film which was a good and very different companion piece to The Wolf of Wall Street. I liked the film and would definitely recommend it.

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