For Reel

The Big Short (2015)
January 12, 2016, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Adam McKay
3 Stars
The Big ShortBased on New York hedge fund manager Steve Heisman, Steve Carrell has the essential role in Adam McKay’s foray into the semi-dramatic with The Big Short. He serves as a stand-in for both the director and the audience–his way of entering in a room and talking over everyone mimics McKay’s own aesthetically loud insistence on rapid camera movements, montages, and fourth-wall breaking moments, and his transition from anger to defeat marks the trajectory that the viewer is intended to have. The Big Short is suave and sexy, entering the world of high finance with a handful of movie stars and the occasional charming gimmick (such as Margot Robbie in a bathtub) to support its dry-on-paper material. But it’s a sheen that masks a deep hurt and frustration, and when McKay gives himself over to that dynamism–such as the scenes in which Carrell reveals the extent of his depression and regret–the film really works. The aforementioned technique involving actors like Robbie discussing financial concepts is both a condescending and entertaining distraction–McKay is correct in his understanding that the average movie-goer doesn’t understand these ideas, and he invites audiences to laugh at their own ignorance. Is it not a fitting way of making a point in a film that is very much about a lack of knowledge on a massive scale?

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