2015's smartest film
Wow. What a film. The Big Short is a bold undertaking. This film attempts to explain what made the financial crisis of 2007 happen in a way that we, the normal plebeian, could understand. Not only that, but it also brands itself as a comedy. So, it attempts to explain what caused the 2007 financial crisis, all while trying to be humorous. That's a tough sell. But you know what? The Big Short nails it, and, with only a few films left to watch from 2015, it just made my short list as a serious best film of the year candidate. So, let's dive into it, shall we?
There's so many things to compliment in this film. Let's first talk about the editing. The editing is EASILY the best I've seen in 2015, and even rivals the incredible editing of the best film I've ever reviewed on this blog, Whiplash. (Which you can check out here if you wish to relive it!) The editing is the sole reason the pacing of this 130 minute film (of essentially a bunch of people talking to each other and nothing else) feels so incredibly brisk. Seriously. These 130 minutes flew by because of this editing. It's amazing what some quick, frantic cuts and syncing your cuts up with music can do for your film. I fully expect this film to win the Oscar for Best Editing if nothing else. The acting is also spectacular. This, too, is a daring challenge: this film features an ensemble cast with no one person in charge. This film tells its story from a few different perspectives, and while each of these "stories" have a main character, no one really stands out as a lead. That's ok, though, because everyone in this film puts in some of their best performances in years, particularly Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. (Where was this Steve Carell in 2014's Foxcatcher??) Gosling and Carell are the ones who stood out to me, but the Academy decided that Christian Bale deserved the nomination. But he's great too, so that's ok. I am honestly quite impressed with how well-acted this film is, but that's been a surprising norm for director Adam McKay over the years. (Just....don't look at McKay's IMDB page. You'll be too shocked by his repertoire.)
But let's talk about the comedy/subject matter. One of the best things about this film is how it explained to us what was going on. This film did a phenomenal job of breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to us, the audience, and using visual aids and people who weren't even remotely connected to the rest of the film to help explain things to us. Want to learn what a sub-prime mortgage is? Well, here's Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to explain it to you. It's brilliant! It's freaking brilliant. (That one happens in the first 10 minutes and there are several more so I'll leave the rest of these great scenes unspoiled for you.) All throughout the first 90 minutes or so, this film is absolutely hilarious. But, right when the crisis begins, the tone of the film turns on a dime, and it SOMEHOW becomes a great drama, one that left me....angry. This film made me mad at Wall Street for not only letting this happen, but for already starting to do the things that made it happen just 8 year ago. Because of the last 40 minutes, I strongly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, because this is EASILY the best film ever released that tries to explain to us why 2007 happened. And this is coming from a guy who has watched about as much content about 2007 as he could get his hands on. (Even though there's honestly not much out there.) Really the only complaint I have with this film is the fact that despite all its explaining, some of it still went over my plebeian head, but the rest of the film is so great that this fact just makes me want to watch it again. This film is not only the smartest film of 2015, but of all the films released it just might be the one that most deserves your attention. And your outrage. While some of the incomprehensible dialogue is just enough to bump this down from a perfect 10, The Big Short just might be my favorite film of 2015. Least it certainly is up to this point.
The Verdict: One of the best films of 2015, The Big Short is a gripping and hilarious "dram-com" that recants how the 2007 financial crisis came to be better than any film has to this point.
The Recommendation: A universal recommendation. You owe it to yourself to see The Big Short. Please. And schoolteachers? HOLY CRAP THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT FILM TO WATCH IN A COLLEGE ECONOMICS CLASS. You'll just have to warn your students when the nudity comes cause there is a small bit of that. But the story itself still NEEDS to be told.
The Verdict: 9.5/10 (I never bust out the .5s nowadays, but its truly too good to be a 9 while falling just short of being a 10.)