The Big Short review – Jez Gibson

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What if someone was to say to you that the guy who made Anchorman (one of the most iconic and adored comedies of recent decades) was going to get Oscar nominated. Nominated for making a film that still brings the funny, but is primarily a grown up and challenging take on the banking crisis that led to folks globally losing their ability to retain their jobs and their lives. Director and Screenplay writer Adam Mckay brings us “B’Anchorman”.

So this is not a comedy, although it is very funny. It is not an “Awards” film with a heavyweight director, but it is gathering nominations. It shouldn’t really be that smart, inventive, or substantial enough to necessitate great acting from it’s cast, but somehow it does.

The film tracks four different arcs of individuals with interwoven relationships and interests who spot, or identify with an anomally in the potential maths and the risks of the future of the banking system in 2007/8. A system that everyone else is either ignorant of or complicit with. Think of a combination of All The Presidents Men and Margin call, with a pinch of the Wolf Of Wall Street.

It sounds like a confusing mess that shouldn’t work, but boy does it work. Much of the theory and detail went way over my head, but it matters not.

We are introduced to loner Christian Bale, Steve Carrel (and his own ensemble team of actors including Rafe Spall), Ryan Gosling and newbies John Magaro and Finn Wittrock (mentored by Brad Pitt). There is not a weak link here with each of the aforementioned being distinctive and fascinating.

The film gets a wonderful balance of playfully jumping back on a soapbox to remind us of a global injustice driven by greed and self-interest, and does it with great style, panache and good humour.

A reminder of reasons to be angry at a series of criminals who were never brought to justice. Outrageous criminal behavior with global ramifications that you were and possibly still are a victim of. At least now we can try to look back and laugh about it and at them.