The Big Short Review: The Most Fun Movie About the Housing Crisis

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The Big Short has a lot of energy. Maybe a little too much energy. But this tone, which the film strikes immediately, is pretty necessary for the nitty gritty details it’s about to go into about the onset of the Great Recession.

This is a movie about the people who caught a whiff of the housing bubble getting ready to burst and how they tried to make a massive amount of money off of it. Amazingly, this film is actually very funny. Director Adam McKay, who’s last film was Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, brings excellent comedic timing to what would normally be a very dry subject. He’s also in love with his own story, to the point where Ryan Gosling at one point mugs to the camera mid-scene that “this is real, it happened exactly like this.” The results are pretty hysterical.

The film’s style feels like all the coke from The Wolf of Wall Street was placed in the editing room for this one. The Big Short travels at the speed of light, delivering a sensory overload that’ll likely lose you a bit over the halfway mark. But the performances manage to carry us through to the eventually poignant conclusion. Christian Bale as Michael Burry is magnetic, while Steve Carell’s Mark Baum shows us that his serious work in Foxcatcher was no fluke, once again diversifying his resume in exciting ways. Gosling mostly just mugs at the camera, but man has he perfected that.

As more of a comedic companion piece to this year’s 99 HomesThe Big Short is a lively portrayal of events most people can’t properly explain. It makes you understand these events, while also making you laugh. That’s impressive enough, but the overall arc here really lands in the end as well. It’s style may get in its own way occasionally, but this is easily one of the most original films of the year. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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