Adapting the nonfiction book by Berkeley’s own Michael Lewis, Director Adam McKay and Charles Randolph lay out the stories of the investment banking insiders — including fund managers Michael Burry (Christian Bale) and Mark Baum (Steve Carell) — who saw the mortgage collapse coming as early as 2005, and began to realize how much the game was rigged. The subject is, of course, an insanely convoluted one — full of arcane banking terminology and horrible behavior by banks, government regulatory agencies, and bond-rating companies — that resulted in a cascade of bankrupt businesses, lost savings, and unemployment. There’s too much ground to cover for the individual characters’ stories to make much of an emotional impact, despite McKay’s efforts at conveying, for example, the grief driving Baum’s righteousness. But The Big Short has a snappy energy that turns one of the most maddening events in recent history into something in which all the greedy pieces suddenly make sense — even the greedy pieces who are, theoretically, our protagonists, as we’re reminded that being right about this Jenga-unstable situation means real economic pain for real people (130 min.).
Director: Adam McKay
Producer: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Arnon Milchan, Louise Rosner-Meyer and Kevin Messick
Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Adepero Oduye, Karen Gillan, Max Greenfield, Billy Magnussen, Melissa Leo, Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, John Magaro and Finn Wittrock