The Big Short, directed by Adam McKay is a film that seems hell bent on getting in its own way and making it almost impossible to deliver a story that is tolerable to sit thorough. So much of the film is unnecessarily gaudy and intrusive. More than delivering what is an interesting point in our history – The Big Short is intent on trying to show off just how clever and different it is… it doesn’t, it just fails.
The Story in The Big Short revolves around the collapse of the world’s economy in 2008. More specifically it focuses on an assortment of outsider bankers who were able to see the credit and housing bubble collapse before anyone else. Wanting to profit from the banks greed and blindness they begin to bet against the banks and wait for the inevitability to make them billionaires.
From the very beginning, The Big Short reveals the type of film it’s going to be, and I immediately knew that this was going to be a tough 2 hours to sit through. This is a film that is constantly tripping over its own feet. It’s so intent on trying to be something more than it is and thus so much of it feels forced and heavy handed. Instead of presenting what is a very interesting true story, the film feels the need to show off. Constantly it would throw up things on the screen or cut to completely superfluous and unnecessary scenes that only diminished the already quality void experience.
Let’s take the editing for example. To me it felt like Adam McKay brought in 2 or 3 editors and gave them all individual goes at finding the tone of the film and how things should be presented. Then what he did was just take the elements that he liked from those very different edits and mashed them together. The film is truly nonsensical at times and for the first two acts of the film in particular, it’s bad. Weirdly the third act of the film changes completely in tone and presentation and shows a hint of what the film could have actually have been. If the film had stuck to that feel throughout… well this would have actually been a film worth the attention it is getting.
Perhaps the most enraging element of The Big Short is the “Look how clever and edgy we are”, attitude that it has. It’s as if the film was both in the middle of a dick measuring competition while also bragging about the fellatio party it was about to head to at the Playboy mansion. I just wanted the opportunity to turn to the director and scream at him to stop trying to be a smartass and just focus on making a compelling and meaningful film – while also shielding my eyes from all the measuring of course.
What’s disappointing is that there are moments in The Big Short where it showed promise – in there somewhere were some good ideas, but it got very lost. Take the actors that the film boasts: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christina Bale and Brad Pitt. In any other film this would be an incredible cast to have at your disposal. In the Big Short of course it’s wasted.
What’s so annoying about that wasted cast is that they all by themselves deliver some great performances. I could happily talk about each one and how they became effortlessly entrenched in their characters and if they’d had a better script and director could have delivered something truly memorable but even with their great attempts they are I the end lost within an insufferable film.
And the actor who misses out the most is Steve Carell who for me certainly stole the show, and part of that is because of the really interesting person he portrays – once again though the film is so busy throwing up flashy nonsense, that no appropriate amount of development is given. There is one scene in the film, which lasts around 3 to 4 minutes and in that scene Carell and his character are given the only real opportunity to show just what they can do as an actor and just how broken and interesting of a human being they are. That’s it – that one scene is all and the rest is just Carell getting to steal scenes but never actually explore the character. It’s frustrating to say the least.
Continuing the journey of waste – seriously this is a film that wastes every good thing it has. The Big Short focuses on a really interesting and important story, and handles it with the same care that a trust fund kid does with his bank account. The best recommendation I can give when it comes to this story is to seek out any of the far superior documentaries that dive deep into the minutia of how the world economy was able to collapse.
I really didn’t enjoy my time with the Big Short. This is a film that like this review shows had a lot of opportunities to deliver something great, and instead felt the need to try and be some unnecessarily witty, in your face annoyance. I try to be fair and positive about films (I love them so much) but I can’t find any way to do that with this film.
I will not be recommending The Big Short. If I were to use one word to describe it, it would be “Hateful”. Please spend your time wisely and go see anything else.
I would absolutely love to know what you thought of The Big Short so please leave a comment down below letting me know. If you would like to follow me on Twitter then click the link – @GavinsTurtle. Last but not least I hope you have a great week.