Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Big Short (2015)

Movie-goers, cash in with The Big Short.

It's rare I get to the movies these days due to work and other commitments. DVDs keep me entertained at home. I'm glad I saw this American film while it's still in theatres.

Andy McKay's drama about what caused the 2008 economic meltdown in the United States is fascinating viewing.

Don't be discouraged by fears of being completely lost with all the business terms tossed around in this five-time Academy Award nominated film. Chances are you'll get enough of what's going on to follow the story. Hey, there's even folks such as pop singer Selena Gomez to help explain some of the financial products discussed.

Three different groups of investors, including hedge fund manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale), eager up-and-comers Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Mark Baum (Steve Carell), another money manager with a deep distrust of the big banks, all realize the same thing. There's a lot of rot in mortgages being given to American residents. A crash is not far off. They all decide to put money down betting the American housing market will fail. Their decision stuns others who are convinced the market is rock solid and their foolish quest will cost them millions. Easy to think a decade ago, but Burry's estimate of a second quarter correction in 2008 was spot on.

The Big Short is a beacon of hope for those who think outside the box. Burry faced vehement opposition from his main backer. Investors wanted out. Geller and Shipley wanted to make their mark and found, at a young age, what more experienced investment gurus were missing. With the help of Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt), an investor who has taken himself out of the investment game, they succeed. Baum is angry at a lot of things. How so many bad mortgages are being doled out by American banks astonishes him.

Watching The Big Short raises the big questions: How could this happen and why weren't more people punished?

The film gets a bit preachy at times, but that's a small caveat. See this film. Now, I want to read Michael Lewis' book (The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine) that serves as basis for this movie.

RATING: 9/10

FUN FACTS: The Big Short is up for five Oscars including best film, director and actor for Bale.

Soap opera fans may remember Finn Wittrock as Damon Miller in All My Children.

That's Marisa Tomei as Carell's wife.

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