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Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 3 years ago

Film review: 'The Big Short'

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An easy to decipher look behind the 2008 economic meltdown

The new film, "The Big Short," manages to inject humor into the tragic and catastrophic collapse of the economy in 2008. Based on the nonfiction best-seller by Michael Lewis, we get a breakdown as to what led to the meltdown.

Director Adam McKay brilliantly scripts (along with Charlie Randolph) on a level aimed at making the fiasco easy to decipher. Sidebar cutaways, featuring celebrities who explain lofty concepts (i.e. subprime loans, credit default swaps, mortgage-backed securities) are hilariously informative. Pay attention and you'll get it.

But beware, the message is deadly serious. These greedy banksters and investors bet against the American economy and didn't give a hoot about the effect it would have on the average person. Then adding insult to injury, those very people were forced to bail them out. Only one banker involved in the nihilistic scheme ever went to jail. In the words of Gordon Gekko ("Wall Street" 1987), " Greed is good." But only for crooks in Armani suits.

"The Big Short" works on a multitude of levels but primarily it gets its juice from a gang of great actors. The main players include Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. But cameos by Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Selena Gomez (the list goes on and on) help to spice up the look and lingo of this Wall Street thriller. 

Adam McKay's first time directing a drama ("Step Brothers") is a doozy. It's one of the best films of 2015. At the end of "The Big Short" he runs some thoroughly frightening statistics that indicate how many millions of unassuming people lost their homes and jobs. Trillions in wealth was decimated and the lawless spree, eventually, spread worldwide. The irony: All of the crimes went unpunished. The rub: In all likelihood, it could happen again. 

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