Photo: The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

Film Club: The Big Short (2015)

Michael Lewis' brilliant book is converted into an unlikely mainstream hit from the director behind Anchorman and Step Brothers. Starring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt and Christian Bale, steel yourself for a host of industry jargon and a movie undecided as to whether it's on a moral crusade or a quest for giggles...


The Big Short follows the events of the 2008 financial crisis, but from the angle of Wall Street that made an absolute killing. Michael Burry, an unusual and unkempt introvert played by Christian Bale, first notices several subprime home loans that are basically complete shit and are in danger of defaulting and inevitably collapsing the US housing market. Burry then invests over $1billion of his investors’ money in credit default swaps, the whole time being ridiculed and disparaged for his ludicrous investments.

Soon others catch wind of what Burry is up to, including Jared Vennett, a banker played by Ryan Gosling (who also narrates the movie). Vennett is the most stereotypical cliché version of a banker; trying to make as much money as possible without a care as to how he does it. The rumour of a housing collapse is therefore music to his ears. He then confronts hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum, played by Steve Carell, with Burry’s idea to short the housing market.

Long story short, because this is a long movie; the American economy collapsed, 5 trillion dollars was lost, eight million people lost their jobs, six million lost their homes, Jared Vennett made $47 million in commissions, Mark Baum’s team made $1 billion and Michael Burry made $100 million for himself and $700 million for his investors.

Adam McKay’s depiction of Micheal Lewis’s book ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ is a grower not a shower. It takes the first hour and a half for it to get interesting, the first half being just how many big sentences full of industry jargon can we get in before someone switches off. It’s also interesting how the movie seems to switch genres halfway through, first we get black comedy ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ vibes then it’s a righteous unveiling of the real corrupt underworld of Wall Street. However, we imagine this is not unlike how the events of the 2008 financial crisis really felt for those that were in it.

Overall, we think the movie has cleverly used lots of well-known faces to tell an important and complex tale, but also attempted to doll it up in a fun and sexy way… although not completely effectively.

Best Part:

When Michael Burry sends emails to each of his investors telling them how many millions he’s made them after two years of doubt and threats from each of them. Then he closes the firm - bit of fist pump into the air movie moment.

Worst Part:

This is not necessarily a part in the movie but an overall worst factor is Mark Baum’s (in real life Steve Eisman) continuous sanctimonious turmoil that makes him so angry at the system and the world, but the whole time is making the decision to bet against the banks he works for and screwing the poorest people in America. Not to mention he makes a shit tone whilst doing it. The worst scene is the final scene when he’s trying to make such a hard decision, does he sell and make a billion dollars from the corrupt system he so hates? Of course he bloody does.

Most memorable quote:

Jared Vennett: There’s some shady stuff going down. God, this is intimate. I feel like I’m financially inside of you or something.
Mark Baum: Okay.

TraderLife Rating: