BigshortGreed Is The Name Of The Game
The Big Short
Stars: Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, John Magaro, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Brad Pitt and Finn Wittrock
Director: Adam McKay
Scriptwriters: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay from the book by Michael Lewis
Composer: Nicholas Britell
Paramount Pictures
Rating: R for language, nudity and themed material
Running Length: 130 Minutes
Another name for Wall Street could be Greed Row. The 2008 housing debacle in American history is the subject of this film, based on the book by Michael Lewis. In it, we see how a small group of people figured out that the housing market was about to be tummy up and bet against it. Most of America ended up wearing barrels and one or two made out like mad----spending it lavishly, of course, and ending up poorly. Capitalism can be realistic or it can be played for a joke and jokesville it is in this film.
The main characters are Christian Bale as Dr. Michael Burrie, who had the Scion Fund and ran it single-handedly.  He is the one who figures out that the housing market will soon collapse and acts as the Pied Piper for anyone who will listen and some did: Charlie (John Magaro), Porter (Hamish Linklater), Danny (Rafe Spall), Vinny (Jeremy Strong), Jamie (Finn Wittrock) and the leader of that group, Mark Baum (Steve Carell who steals his scenes.) Brad Pitt comes in as Ben Rickert, an analyst for Baum. They are literally dancing for glee when they find out that mortgages are being recalled, people are evicted and they may make some serious dollars. But, the grass is not always greener on the other side, sometimes it is moldy, too.
As the film goes along, we begin to feel the tension of when to buy, how much, and when to sell.  We are talking billions of dollars here which to these people is almost like pocket change. Director Adam McKay (“Anchorman 2”) mixes dialogue with graphics to add humor to the film, such as a visit to an exotic dance club to find that one of the dancers owns five homes. Language is about what you would expect, profane and precise.
If you can figure out the math of this situation, more power to you.  I'm sure there are formulas to calculate all of this, but it is over the head of most movie-goers.  We just come to see the actors such as Carell when he loses his temper, Bale on his drum set (good for frustration) or Brad Pitt as a nature-lover with a beard.  You want to tell these guys to slow down a bit, but greed with a capital “G” has bitten them and off they go. The background is richer in detail than the main story, as you see people moving out of repossessed homes (“99 Homes” and Michael Shannon depicted this better).  It was a sad situation.
After seeing this film, you want to bury your money in the backyard, pay your bills in cash the minute you receive them (no online stuff) and only invest in gold coins that joins your money in the backyard. Seriously, though, “The Big Short” is food for thought on how not to live and how intricate the financial system really is. Wonder if Einstein ever came up with a formula for Wall Street.  Just asking..….
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner