Words || Adrian Nguyen
He’s well known for unleashing Will Ferrell’s screaming stupidity (Anchorman, Talledega Nights and Step Brothers), but director Adam McKay is no stranger to Wall Street corruption. If you’ve seen his 2010 film The Other Guys and stayed for the end credits, it delivered a Powerpoint Presentation on corporate crime and how in the midst of troubling and losing times, the wealthy still get rewarded. McKay’s latest effort The Big Short is a condemnation of such, following three separate stories on a group of investors betting against the housing market before the GFC of 2008. It’s energetic, self-righteous and educational, but most of all it’s angry on behalf of those who were hurt by the downturn.
The characters here are either pessimistic or opportunistic, but lack any awareness of the consequences of their petty actions (the film refers to those as ‘stupid amateurs’). Michael Burry (Christian Bale) is a metalhead, socially awkward investor who’s the first to wager the bubble bursting that no one could see. Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) is fussy about the bullshit happening in the corporate industry, and Ben Rickett (Brad Pitt) is a former banker is brought back into the world by a duo of young, up-and-coming traders. All of them aim to buy back credit defaults and gain big profits, looming ahead to the market bust.
In spite of heavy-handed preachiness, The Big Short makes a complex topic accessible without over-simplifying or downplaying its consequences.