Adam McKay has gotten a reputation for sub-par comedies with big-name actors, many of which I have already reviewed on this site, but The Big Short is a ‘comedy’ of a totally different level. This film based on the credit and housing bubble collapse, and follows a group of characters who predict the collapse and– spoiler alert– earn a lot of money. First of all this ‘comedy’ is not so much a comedy as it is a mildly comedic historical drama, which is so different from the more traditional Adam McKay gag-based comedy that viewers have seen in films like Step Brothers. This film also features a cast of well rounded actors such as Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt who help bring one of the most wonderful screenplays ever written into life. The screenplay, which is based on a book by Michael Lewis, is one of the most thrilling and exciting screenplays based on true events since Argo.
The ensemble cast has absolutely outstanding chemistry which I think comes from the egocentric drive that controls each of the individuals and the contrast between the character who realize how the stock market crash would affect families and the characters who couldn’t care less. The actors in this film are absolutely phenomenal and really put significant effort into this film. Most notably, I think is Christian Bale who puts so much emotion and passionate nuance into every scene. Steve Carell, who plays the ‘straight man’, shows off that he and pull off almost any role. Ryan Gosling who plays a stuck-up contemporary business man, may have had the least interesting character but still manages to put in a strong performance and has significantly great screen chemistry with Steve Carell. Brad Pitt has a smaller role in the film as the previously retired stock-trader, Pitt’s character didn’t really catch onto me and Pitt seemed bored of the whole movie and didn’t seem to put in much effort. John Magaro and Finn Wittrock play two up-and-coming hedge funders who were an absolute pleasure to watch onscreen together; they played wonderfully off of each other.
The screenplay follows the “Don’t think your audience is stupid” rule which at points does make the story fairly hard to keep up with. This is most definitely not a movie you can watch while playing on your phone meanwhile. But when the story gets very confusing a celebrity appears and explains the complicated economics in simpler terms, this makes for a better understanding of the story and also offers a fun contrast to the otherwise intense drama-thriller. The story has a very predictable end, but that doesn’t really hurt the movie much as this is more a film about the journey to the stock market crash than the effect it had. The movie also gained a lot from it’s House of Cards style 4th wall break which really helped introduce the viewer into this environment that is otherwise so foreign and different.
Overall this movie may take the award for McKay’s strongest film today; but hopefully he’ll start making more of these ‘important’ films that mean something to the viewer and society. Overall the acting in this movie was truly excellent– and may I say it again– especially Christian Bale who had the most and least likeable character at the same time. The screenplay was also absolutely superb and dd so many small things here and there that helped build to such a wonderful and important film that still manages to be able to appeal to a large audience. This is truly one of the best films I have seen in a very long time and one that I will probably watch over and over again.
Best Aspect- The stunning screenplay
Worst Aspect- Brad Pitt