Cast: Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling,
Director: Adam McKay
Genre: Drama, comedy, biographic
Duration: 130 minutes
Now showing: Cinema Magic Metroplex Mall Naalya and Century Cinemax Acacia Mall Kisementi
Remember the 2007 financial crisis? Or what we called the credit crunch – that excuse everyone, including the boda man, gave for increasing prices never mind that the real impact did not hit us immediately. Anyway, back to the point of the question. The Big Short is about that time, a few individuals who saw it coming and benefitted from it.
These people include Michael Burry (Bale) who managed a hedge fund and saw the crisis coming two years before it happened. When he notices that the housing market will collapse he approaches banks and offers to buy what business peeps call credit default swap. How this works is that Burry would pay a certain fee on the housing loans the banks have, but if whoever has the loan with the bank defaults, the bank has to pay Burry a specified amount – no less than the value of the loan. We all know that several people defaulted on their housing loans so you know that goes.
Soon other people in the trade like Mark Baum (Carrell) hear about it and want in. Some young investors with little business knowledge are also pulled in, getting a retired banker (Pitt) to help them. They get into business deals that will make you wish you had paid more attention in any business-related class you have ever taken, that is if it is not your specialty. It will also make you get angry that something that seems illegal can be maneuvered.
The plot seems complicated, especially if like me, you are put off by talk of hedge funds, mortgages and what not. But the movie is insightful in that regard – its strongest suit perhaps. It manages to break down all the business jargon and truthfully, after the book on which it was done, it is one of the few telling of the financial crisis that makes sense of what happened.
It is a little heavy in some places, but given the issue it is dealing with, there may have been no way of avoiding it. Good thing is that there are a few laughs here and there to lighten things up. In the end, you will understand why it has been nominated for best picture, director and in three other categories of the Oscars.