Judging the quality of a movie that’s so esoteric is an intriguing task when you yourself aren’t awfully versed in the subject matter. This is after all, about the 2008 financial crisis.
Should The Big Short be weighed by its accessibility or its faithfulness to those who speak the financial vernacular? In such cases, I think it pertinent to consider such films the way they want to be considered, because The Big Short is definitely trying to make itself as approachable as possible.
A semi-serious movie about excel spreadsheets was always going to be filled with the jargon of Wall St. So in-between every monetary doomsday sermon is a satirical crash course by a hot blonde in a bathtub. It’s acutely aware that A) people get bored by business chatter and B) not everyone’s gonna understand this stuff.
Its playfulness and nonchalance make the fiscal-heavy moments easier, because eventually it does resort to binary conversations. Though even for someone like me who prefers English over math, you’ll get the jist just by reading the room from the quartet of expensive actors. Christian Bale’s method-esque acting works for the socially inept hedge fund manager he plays, and Steve Carrell’s comedic history adapts well to the colloquial melodrama of The Big Short.
Gosling plays a Ryan Reynolds character with a similarity that goes beyond a first-name basis, and Brad Pitt is almost a non-character as to make his talents unnecessary. If you’re not likely stirred however by talk of investors and mortgage rates, the people behind it at least should.
The Big Short might be marred by numerical verbosity, but it also understands no one wants to watch a straight-arrow banking presentation. Not going so far as Wolf of Wall Street’s wild hedonism, but enough to make a seemingly dull topic enjoyable for a layman. I went away not understanding many of the finer details, but that I also went away entertained either speaks to my facile intellect, or the intelligence of the movie.