Review: 'The Big Short' is a lighthearted look at a dire situation


“The Big Short” is an infuriating movie. Not because it’s poorly made but because it is so well made.

See Full Article

It takes years of banking bafflegab and distils it down to the essence in what may be the funniest, smartest and most maddening look at why America’s housing market crashed in 2008.

The films opens with a famous Mark Twain quote, “I’t ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” The quote is a bit of a Mobius strip but so is the story “The Big Short” is trying to tell.

Based on Michael Lewis‘ nonfiction best-seller of the same name, the film presents a cavalcade of facts and information formed into a story about how four investment-bankers—played by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro—saw the financial meltdown coming when no one else did. Taking on the arrogance of Wall Street’s old boy network, they bet against the American economy and, in the process, expose an unprecedented level of financial criminality.

“The Big Short” is a lighthearted look at a dire situation. Call it a dramedy. Director Adam McKay is best known for making movies like “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” “The Other Guys,” “Step Brothers,” so he knows how to milk a laugh out of a scene. He also knows that the level of understanding the viewer needs to get why the housing bubble burst is above the level of most MBAs.

The movie explains that Wall Street likes to use confusing terms to make you think only they can understand what they do. “It's like 2+2 = fish,” says one banker, expressing disbelief at the financial manipulations used by the big banks. To make the financial mumbo-jumbo sexy the McKay uses a variety of tricks, including cutting to Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining subprime loans in plain language. It’s a spoonful of sugar to help the expositional medicine go down. From the simple—one loan officer calls his clients “Ninjas, no income, no job.”—to the incredibly complex world of CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) “The Big Short” doesn’t shy away from tackling complex financial transactions but it never feels dry or forced. McKay is a showman, and layers the film with fourth-wall-breaking celebrity cameos and concise social commentary woven into the drama.

A great scene of Goldman Sachs executives laughing at Dr. Michael Burry’s (Christian Bale) $100 million investment is cut into a rap video celebrating excess. In one wordless scene McKay illustrates the arrogance of the bankers in the days before the rug was pulled out from underneath them.

Subtle it's not, but the director’s use of pop culture images and music to set the scene goes a long way to establish a time, place and tone.

“The Big Short” features strong performances—Bale stretches in ways we haven't seen from him before—but it is the film’s unflinching depiction of unbridled greed that will resonate.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Judge rejects woman and girl's claims to Prince estate

    Entertainment CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday that a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece will not be considered heirs to the late music superstar's estate. Carver County Judge Kevin Eide ruled that Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria Nelson, are excluded as Prince's heirs as a matter of law. Source
  • Drake 'corny as f---' Kid Cudi's manager responds to 'Two Birds, One Stone'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kid Cudi’s manager has fired back at Drake, branding the Canadian rapper “corny” for mocking the troubled star’s mental health issues in a new song. The Hotline Bling hitmaker, real name Aubrey Graham, faced a backlash from music fans this week after debuting a track titled Two Birds, One Stone on his Apple Music OVO Sound Radio show on Sunday. Source
  • Justin Timberlake's voting booth selfie not under investigation

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The District Attorney in Shelby County, Tennessee has dismissed reports suggesting Justin Timberlake is under investigation for his illegal voting booth selfie. The SexyBack hitmaker took to Instagram on Monday and shared a photo of himself casting his early ballot back home in Memphis, Tennessee, after flying in from Los Angeles, where he had just premiered his new movie Trolls on Sunday. Source
  • 'I hate this but I was slightly distant'; John Candy's kids reveal last moments with their father

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    It’s hard to believe, but if John Candy was still with us, he’d be turning 66 next Monday, Oct. 31. The funnyman died on March 4, 1994, at the age of 43 in Mexico while he was filming Wagons East, a western parody that co-starred Richard Lewis. Source
  • Judge bars Prince heir of estate claim for people claiming to be his niece, grandniece

    Entertainment CBC News
    A Minnesota judge says a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece will not be considered heirs of his estate. Judge Kevin Eide ruled Wednesday that Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria Nelson, are excluded as Prince's heirs as a matter of law. Source
  • Tom Hanks' wife Rita Wilson loves his David S. Pumpkins 'SNL' character

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Rita Wilson’s phone has been blowing up — and it’s all David S. Pumpkins’ fault. Ever since her husband, Tom Hanks, appeared on NBC’s Saturday Night Live as the strange man in the pumpkin suit in that haunted elevator, Wilson has received all sorts of crazy David S. Source
  • Saskatoon mayoral candidate gets last-minute shoutout from Zach Galifianakis

    Entertainment CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A candidate for mayor in Saskatoon's municipal election today is getting a last-minute endorsement with a comedic twist. Charlie Clark has tweeted a decidedly amateur video of Zach Galifianakis urging voters to mark their ballots for the 10-year city councillor. Source
  • 'I can vote with my wallet:' boycott urges shoppers, retailers to drop Trump products

    Entertainment CBC News
    An eye-catching shoe piques your interest and draws you in. Upon closer inspection, the label leaps out at you — Ivanka Trump, in simple gold lettering — and you recoil as if stung. That's the kind of reaction behind a growing boycott of the products emblazoned with the brand of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as well as the popular, working women-targeted fashion line from his eldest daughter — who has arguably been his most influential and effective family member during the…
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man: Will Marvel replace its biggest star?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Will Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark in Iron Man 4? What about Chris Evans? Will he return for another solo outing as Captain America? As Marvel steps firmly into Phase 3 of its Cinematic Universe with next week’s Doctor Strange, the question of what will happen with the studio’s biggest heroes is one that president Kevin Feige faces. Source
  • Joel McHale dares to make fun of millennials in new sitcom 'The Great Indoors'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Joel McHale understands that every generation thinks the next generation is bogus. “Even when the Apache were fighting the Lakota or whatever, I'm sure they were like, 'Ugh! These kids! They don't know what the f--- they're doing! If you're going to throw your spear like that, don't come to me anymore!” McHale said. Source