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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Summer 2015-6

The Big Short (2015) movie review

Boys Will Be Boys

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movie poster, The Big Short, Festivale film review; 220x325

Movie poster, The Big Short
This is a true story

Despite the crash of 1929, the regulating of American banks has been steadily eroded. Bankers went from solid, conservative members of the community to wealthy traders of commodities. And those commodities ultimately were the homes and jobs and welfare of people.

For the American banking community, greed may be good, but corruption is GREAT. "How much do you earn?" is the measure of a trader. One way they make money is to make up bundles of house mortgages and sell them to, for example, pension funds.

Nobody defaults on their mortgages, right? And if there aren't enough AAA customers, then lets make up bundles of more marginal customers. Of course if the bankers making the loans are selling them off, what do they care if the people taking them out will be able to pay them?

Based on a true story (another one), The Big Short is a story of the mid-2000s when the bankers thought the free lunches and strip joints and kickbacks and big lifestyles were going to go on forever. But one man believed it couldn't, and with a small group of traders he bet against the American economy.

So you see, this film has at its backbone some financial theory. The filmmakers get around it by using celebrities and other to explain.

Does this film work? Is it a drama? Well, I've seen documentaries on the subject of banking frauds, so I had some background. There are concerted efforts to make The Big Short almost like a prank, just a few guys having fun, making money.

There's no love interest, there's very little questioning of motives, so it's more like watching a documentary than a fictional story. Watchable, but not compelling.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 14 January 2015
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
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Just the facts:

Title: The Big Short (2015)
Written by: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (screenplay) Michael Lewis (book)
Directed by: Adam McKay
Running time: 130 mins

The Players: Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei

Official website:
IMDb entry

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