What makes “The Big Short” so interesting is that viewers find themselves rooting for the hypocrites, and forgetting the taxpaying middle class footing the bill for unbridled capitalism. See this film and vote for Bernie Sanders. You will want to see more done to stop this fraudulent system of ours, believe me.
The first fifteen minutes of the film is slow. The whacky inserts of bubble- bathing beauties explaining financial terms and bundled mortgages of sub-prime equating with dog shit wrapped in cat shit means the writers knew this, too. How can something so serious about Wall Street morality be seen as comical! The dark humor is couched in “this is how the white boys play” with a token Chinese math whiz and a black, female insurance hotshot worked in.
Saturday Night Live writer Adam McKay is forty-seven, and he brings both writing and directing skills to this film. Based on the mortgage lending crisis told in Michael Lewis’ best selling book,”The Big Short”,this film of the same title derides the fraudulent practices of our rate regulators,bank lenders and realtors. Serendipity is noted,as well as genius. True to actual events, one financial team caught wind of a deal because of a wrong telephone number. And one financial relationship was instigated through dog walking.
The metaphors and similies are acted out, like when chef Anthony Bourdain explains CDOs (collateral diversified offerings) as old fish thrown in a stew. We are introduced to synthetic CDOs next. We learn of prospectuses that don’t make it through the bank lobby and of investment strategies as effective as trying to win the Indianapolis 500 with a llama.
The characters in this film are so well portrayed that my husband did not even recognize Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert, the Wall Street dropout turned seed farmer. Pitt’s subtly pulling the price tag off his tie as he wears it is perfect for a guy who has given up wearing the uniform. Christian Bale as Dr. Michael Burry made the most of his intellect,glass eye and shoeless feet and drums. Steve Carell with his demons is hysterical in group therapy. Marisa Tomei, as his understanding wife, is exceptional as her husband’s whispering confidant. ” You always try to be the virtuous one. Saints don’t live on Park Avenue.” Ryan Gosling at the American Securitization Forum in Las Vegas has just the right eye-pop. The convention by the way was referred to as “a piñata of white people who suck golf.”
The film includes cultural references to colonic appointments, “buzzkill”, and busts of Caesar at Caesar’s Palace rendering to Caesar what is said to be Caesar’s. The “hot hand fallacy” is borrowed from basketball to show us another investment banking no-no. There are no heroes in this re-telling, only blind regulators and the wealthy morally bankrupt.
The fraudulent market continues to be “the bedrock” of our Capitalistic System as all the “realists and fools” take sides. There was a bailout for the banks. They were too big to fail. Five trillion in pension money disappeared and six million homes were lost, granted many that never should have been sold. One banker from Credit Suisse was jailed. Bear Sternes, Salomon Brothers etc.. free to continue their greediness. One of my favorite lines in this film about shorting the housing market was Steve Carell’s “He is so transparent in his self-interest that I sort of respect the man.” Bragging and confessing is at the crux of the American economy, and this film shows us why.