The Big Short shines through honest filmaking

By Josh Svetz  @Svetz17

Image courtesy of

People will do anything to believe a movie is great—just ask any Star Wars fan after the release of The Phantom Menace. They say they like the action, it made them laugh and it had a heartwarming story. But, greatness in film comes down to one outcome: did it move you? At the film’s conclusion, did you sit in your chair just five seconds longer taking it all in? This feeling does not come after every film you see, however, when it happens, there’s nothing comparable; The Big Short accomplices this feat.

Director Adam McKay, the same man who brought us Anchorman, Step Brothers and many other Will Ferrell movies, decided to take on a serious matter, the housing crisis of 2007. To this day, people remain baffled by the event, but The Big Short clears up the ambiguity.

Every actor does a fantastic job including Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) who makes a comeback after being out of the limelight for a few years. Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell all live up to expectations and give performances worthy of Oscar buzz, especially Carell.

The film begins in a Wolf of Wall Street fashion showing four characters, loosely connected to each other through the idea of betting against the supposedly “rock-solid” housing market, deal with the naysayers and realize the gold mine they have stumbled upon; however, that alone does not make the movie great. In one word, The Big Short’s greatest strength comes from honesty.

Honesty shines through whether through certain scenes where a character breaks the fourth-wall and tells you the real story behind the scene, or from the characters slowly realizing what their profit means for Americans who were clueless to the corruption of these banks.

Many times in films based on true stories, events seem exaggerated, or filmmakers take liberty with their source material. It’s likely that still occurs in this film, but it feels more genuine, as if McKay only took liberties when absolutely necessary. In fact, the fourth-wall breaking and the overall style of shots used in the film gives it a documentary touch.

The film also finds a way to breakdown the complicated mess of the housing crisis, and why the economy failed, in an entertaining and easy to understand way while maintaining realism and showing the pain and impact of the crisis.

In the end, The Big Short shows a global audience how the economy failed. It gives information to the masses and for that alone it’s a must-see. Add in great performances by A-list actors coupled with smart and witty dialogue that keeps you invested, and you get a legitimate candidate for best picture.

It gives the audience all the information possible, but instead of pandering and telling people how they can stop the corruption, it stays honest and realistic, offering no solution.

A sad note no doubt, but an honest one, and in a world where the truth constantly gets ignored, it’s nice to see something that keeps things real.

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