Summary: When America’s banks collapsed a few years ago the world was told a lie. The world was told that nobody, not even the top financial experts, saw it coming. That was only partially true, yes the top financial experts didn’t see it coming, but some men did.
The Big Short tells the story of those men, men the world didn’t listen to. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) ran a small, but successful, financial firm and he saw the crash happening but due to the fact that he didn’t dress the way they did and liked to drum to Metallica in his office nobody really listened. The one person who did listen was Wall Street trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who then went against the bank who he worked for and decided that this was a way to make money… betting against the bank. A misplaced phone call by him then tipped off Hedge Fund Manager Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) who then convinced Vennett to join him on his crusade against Wall Street.
The chain then kept going as eager young investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) found a copy of Baum’s flyer and also decide that can make money off what is happening. Not experienced in making the trades they need to do to do so they rope in retired banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to help them out.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th January 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Adam McKay
Screenwriter: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, Michael Lewis (book)
Cast: Christian Bale (Michael Burry), Tony Bentley (Bruce Miller), Anthony Bourdain (himself), Lyle Brocato (Casey), Steve Carrell (Mark Baum), Vanessa Cloke (Lucy), Rudy Eisenzopf (Lewis Ranieri), Peter Epstein (Paul Baum), Aidan Flowers (Young Michael Burry), Karen Gillan (Evie), Selena Gomez (herself), Ryan Gosling (Jared Vennett), Jeffry Griffin (Chris), Nick Hwang (Josh Medak), Jay Jablonski (Matt), Rajeev Jacob (Deeb), Tyler Kunkle (Doug), Colin Lawless (Nicolas Burry), Melissa Leo (Georgia Hale), Tracy Letts (Lawrence Fields), Hamish Linklater (Porter Collins), John Magaro (Charlie Geller), Byron Mann (Mr. Chau), Adepero Oduye (Kathy Tao), Wayne Pere (Martin Blaine), Brad Pitt (Ben Rickert), Margot Robbie (herself), Rafe Spall (Danny Moses), Ilan Srulovicz (Noah), Jeremy Strong (Vinnie Diesel), Richard Thaler (himself), Marisa Tomei (Cynthia Baum), Finn Wittrock (Jamie Shipley), Stanley Wong (Ted Jiang)
Runtime: 130 mins
When director Adam McKay set about making The Big Short he must have wondered whether or not he could pull off this project. McKay had established himself as a comedy director, a great comedy director to be precise… the man who brought us movies such as Anchorman and Step Brothers etc, but still it was ambitious to decide to make a comedy-drama about the collapse of America’s biggest banks. After all the minuet details of how and why the banks collapsed is so technical and boring it would not only go right over the head of the average cinema goer, but also have a strong chance of making them lapse into some kind of a coma if you bothered to explain it properly. Yes The Big Short was an uphill battle all the way but somehow McKay has made this into one of the films of the year.
So how does McKay make this film work so well? The answer is simple. He does what so many filmmakers are scared of doing these days… and that is be creative. To put it into ‘banker speak’ he thought outside the box. Instead of having a series of long explanations of what exactly is happening with all the financial stuff McKay will allow the film’s story to pause for a moment while Margot Robbie (sitting in a bubble bath as herself) explains what is happening or he will cross to a celebrity chef comparing the market to bad fish. It sounds as strange as all hell… but it works and gets the point across in a way that the audience can understand without putting them asleep.
That being said it isn’t creative ‘gimmicks’ like that which make The Big Short work so well. No McKay is aided by a screenplay that is simply one of the best screenplays to surface out of Hollywood for a long, long time. While it expertly reveals a lot of the greed and shame of Wall Street it is also about strong characters and consists of some of the wittiest one-liners you are ever likely to hear. To the credit of the screenplay you actually come to know and love these characters. You feel sorry for Mark Baum and the personal tragedy that he has suffered in his life while you find yourself barracking for the likes of Michael Burry who are putting everything on the line and copping abuse for doing so. Even though so of the characters are quite unlikable, such as Jared Vennett, the screenwriters have been smart enough to get them to deliver the quips that make people laugh in a bid to make them at least a little likable. Yes the unthinkable happens in this film, you actually like bankers.
Of course that brilliant script also allows the actors involved to deliver some of the finest acting performances of the year. Steve Carrell showed us his serious side in Foxcatcher and here he once again revels in what is a demanding but emotional performance. If he takes an Oscar home for this performance he truly deserves it. Likewise Christian Bale who loses all of his Bruce Wayne good looks as he morphs into the hard rocking recluse Michael Burry so well that you forget who you are watching. The other true chameleon here is Brad Pitt who is completely unrecognisable as the bearded off-the-grid former banker Ben Rickert. These three lead an ensemble that makes this film truly memorable.
Sure a film about the banking world might not exactly make you feel like you want to rush out and purchase tickets at the box office, but like Wall Street and The Wolf Of Wall Street before it The Big Short is a ground-breaking film that shows a completely different side to the filmmaking skills of Adam McKay. Creative, original and hard-hitting The Big Short is a film that I’m sure I’ll be revisiting when I put together my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list.
You can listen to Adam’s The Big Short review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161
Other Subculture Entertainment The Big Short reviews: You can listen to our full Big Short Review review on a The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161. You can also read our The Big Short review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘The Big Short,’ ‘The 5th Wave,’ ‘Goosebumps,’ ‘Carol,’ and ‘Sucker’. This episode also contains interviews with Steve Carrell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe, Jack Black, Slappy, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, John Luc, Michael Shanks (‘The Wizards of Aus’) and Louise Malcolm (Gasworks Cinema).
To listen to the show or can download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
The 2016 Oscar nominations have been announced. The big winner who have scored multiple nominations include The Revenant (12 nominations), Mad Max: Fury Road (10), The Martian (7), Bridge Of Spies (6), Carol (6), Spotlight (6), The Big Short (5), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (5), The Danish Girl (4), Room (4), Brooklyn (3), The Hateful Eight (3), Sicario (3), Ex Machina (2), Inside Out (2) and Steve Jobs (2).
And the nominations are:
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Christian Bale (The Big Short)
Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Mark Rylance (Bridge Of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Adam McKay (The Big Short)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)
Lenny Abrahamson (Room)
Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR SCREEN
Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (Bridge Of Spies)
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Pete Docter, Meg Lefauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie Del Carmen (Inside Out)
Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus (Straight Outta Compton)
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED OR PUBLISHED
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Nick Hornby (Brooklyn)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Emma Donoghue (Room)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
O Menino e o Mudno
Shaun The Sheep Movie
Omoide no Mani
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
El Abrazo De La Seripiente
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Edward Lachman (Carol)
Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight)
John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
Roger Deakins (Sicario)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING
Hank Corwin (The Big Short)
Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Stephen Mirrione (The Revenant)
Tom McArdle (Spotlight)
Maryann Brandon, Mark Jo Markey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich (Bridge of Spies)
Eve Stewart, Michael Standish (The Danish Girl)
Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Arthur Max, Celia Bobak (The Martian)
Jack Fisk, Hamish Purdy (The Revenant)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Sandy Powell (Carol)
Sandy Powell (Cinderella)
Paco Delgado (The Danish Girl)
Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jacqueline West (The Revenant)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Love Larson, Eva Von Behr (Hundraaringem Som Klev Ut Genom Fonstret Och Forsvann)
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, Damian Martin (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert A Pandini (The Revenant)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SCORE
Thomas Newman (Bridge Of Spies)
Carter Burwell (Carol)
Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight)
Johann Johannsson (Sicario)
John Williams (Stars Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SONG
‘Earned It’ – The Weekend, Belly, Jason ‘DaHeala’ Quenneville, Stephan Moccio (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
‘Til It Happens To You’ – Diane Warren, Lady Gaga (The Hunting Ground)
‘Manta Ray’ – J. Ralph, Antony Hegarty (Racing Extinction)
‘Writing’s On The Wall’ – Sam Smith, James Napier (Spectre)
‘Simple Song #3’ – David Lang (Youth)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Drew Kunin (Bridge Of Spies)
Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, Ben Osmo (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, Mac Ruth (The Martian)
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Randy Thom, Chris Duesterdiek (The Revenant)
Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Mark A. Mangini, David White (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Oliver Tarney (The Martian)
Martin Hernandez, Lon Bender (The Revenant)
Alan Robert Murray (Sicario)
Matthew Wood, David Acord (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett (Ex Machina)
Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Richard Stammers, Anders Langland, Chris Lawrence, Steven Warner (The Martian)
Richard McBride, Matt Shumway, Jason Smith, Cameron Waldbauer (The Revenant)
Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould (Stars Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST DOCUMENTARY, FEATURE
The Look Of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter On Fire
BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
Body Team 12
War Within The Walls
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah
A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness
Last Day Of Freedom
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATED
Historia de un oso
Mi ne mozhem zhit biz kosmosa
Sanjay’s Super Team
World Of Tomorrow
BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
Alles Wird Gut
Dave Griffiths has worked as a journalist for over twenty years now -covering topics including film, television, music, travel and sport (with a main focus on AFL Football).
That time has seen him host the popular X-Wired television program for seven seasons as well as write for various magazines such as Buzz Magazine, Heavy Mag, Stage Whispers, The Banner and Eternity. Dave is currently the Head Film Writer for Heavy Mag and also writes reviews for Thailand’s The Phuket News newspaper.
He has even branched out into writing online for Subculture Entertainment, Media Search and The Book The Film The T-Shirt. He also worked as the online editor for Entertainment 360 for three years.
Dave’s radio work has seen him work on various radio stations including Talking Lifestyle, 2GB Talk Radio, ,3RPP, Triple R and Light FM. He is currently the co-host of Melbourne’s 94.1FM’s breakfast show ‘The Motley Crew’ and he can sometimes be heard on J-Air’s ‘First On Film’. David is also the co-host of two popular podcasts – ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show,’ and ‘The Popcorn Conspiracy’
As far as Film Reviewing goes David is an elected committee member of AFCA (Australian Film Critics Association and a member of IPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics)/FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique).
He has also served as a jury member for a number of international film festivals and is considered an expert on cult cinema, horror movies and Australian films.
Dave is also a keen screenwriter and is currently working on a new comic book series.
Currently David Griffiths has 99 Film & TV Reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 76 Film Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 21 Music Reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 151 Music Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 21 Theatre/Comedy Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths features on 25 episodes of The Popcorn Conspiracy
Currently David Griffiths features on 3 episodes of SUBCULTURE: THE PODCAST
Adam has worked in the video industry for ten years, he has decided (for our benefit) to stop squandering his encyclopaedic knowledge of film on the average ‘Blockbuster’ patron and has taken up refuge at The Aristocrat.
His love for film was expanded exponentially when he watched a VHS tape of David Fincher’s Fight Club at a friend’s party. He asked if he could borrow the tape overnight, he then went home and watched the film three times back-to-back; that was ten years ago. It was at this moment that he realised films where things to be debated, marvelled at and studied.
Now, his main objective is to pass on the passion of film to others; to change people from apathetic sheep in the candy bar to ravenous cinephiles who await quality cinema, across all genres. Adam is The Aristocrat’s straight man (in more than one context). Adam is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and you can also find his reviews on www.rottentomatoes.com
Currently Adam Ross has 7 reviews on Subculture Entertainment.