The Big Short Trailer (2015) ‐ Paramount Pictures

By Megan Bianco

Based on the last couple of years, there has been a growing trend of biopics centered on white, middle age, scumbag businessmen making shady business decisions to benefit themselves. 2013 gave us the successful satires “American Hustle on the FBI-ABSCAM operation in the late ‘70s and “The Wolf of Wall Street on a ‘90s corrupt and fraudulent stock firm run by Jordan Belfort and Danny Azoff. The most recent film with a similar tone and theme is The Big Short” from Adam McKay of “Anchorman” fame. Only this time the men are a little financially screwier and morally greyer than the previous crooks.

During the years 2005 to 2008, an eccentric neurologist-turned-hedge fund CEO with mild Asberger’s syndrome, Michael Burry (Christian Bale), bets against undervalued stocks and subprime mortgages, believing that the housing market will eventually fall. This inspires Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) to create the “CDO” market by matching buyers and sellers of these securities. Vennett then enlists tempestuous fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) on his side, and at the same time two entrepreneurs Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Charlie Geller (John Magaro) try to build their account on the likelihood of the market crashing.

Brad Pitt plays Jamie’s and Charlie’s mentor; Marisa Tomei appears as Mark’s wife; Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall and Max Greenfield portray Mark’s colleagues; and Melissa Leo and Karen Gillan offer the female perspective on the market. One would assume McKay took inspiration from fellow comedy director Jay Roach on crossing over into political pieces, but “The Big Short” uses his own style and techniques from start to finish. Including archive footage and pop culture references from a decade ago, characters breaking the fourth wall, and amusing cameos from Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez, McKay’s lesson plan on how the stock market and economy work is humorous and easy to follow.

Bale has been receiving the most awards season hype of the cast and it makes sense. Mike Burry is the opposite of Bale’s iconic character Patrick Bateman, another investment banker, and his mannerisms and interaction on screen are just as awkward as they should be. This performance proves the English actor is still one of the best character actors in town. Carell, whose dramatic efforts the last few years have been hit or miss, is perfect here as the hot headed banker who actually means well. “The Big Short” is as educational as it is entertaining, and one of the best movies to end the year with.

Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.