About two weeks ago, I went to see The Big Short with my family. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that excited at the prospect at first since the only things I knew about the movie at that time was that it was about finance, it had Ryan Gosling, and it was supposed to be good. Now, while just Ryan Gosling might have been compelling enough for some people to see the film just because he was in it, I wasn’t quite as convinced. I was pleasantly surprised however, by the time I walked out of the theater afterwards.
For anyone who doesn’t know what the film is about, The Big Short chronicles the lead-up to the 2008 economic crash. It follows three different groups of men as they realize that the economy may not be as stable as everyone assumes and decide to do something that’s never been done before by betting against the banks.
I found the beginning of the film a tad confusing because the first few scenes jump around as the main characters are introduced seemingly without any order or connection between scenes. It was also a little confusing because Ryan Gosling’s character plays narrator even though he isn’t introduced until after the other characters. Periodically throughout the movie snippets of music videos, news clips, and other events would flash across the screen and it wasn’t until about part-way through the film that I realized this was the director’s way of showing the passing of time. Since the film spans 2005-2008, these short montages are a subtle way of letting viewers know when the timeline of the story is entering a new year. I found this to be an interesting and unique choice.
Probably the most interesting thing about The Big Short that I noticed style-wise was the choice to have Ryan Gosling’s character, Jared Vennett, break the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience at a few different points. I haven’t seen this done very often as it’s usually considered a type of taboo within the industry because it breaks the spell of the story.
As far as the overall plotline of the movie goes, I think I learned a lot. It’s based on true events and seeing as I think a lot of this happened sort of behind the scenes, I don’t think many Americans were aware of what was happening in the lead up to the crash. I was also just beginning high school when the economic crash occurred so while I may have lived through it, I certainly didn’t pay it much attention so I learned a lot watching the film. It’s scary to think about how corrupt some of the banks and ratings agencies were and how easy it could be to experience another crash in another 20 years or so. It’s definitely an eye opening and thought provoking film. I would give it 4 stars out of 5.