WORTH A LOOK?: ****
Out in the UK: 22/1
A film about subprime loans and how a hedge fund manager (played by Christian Bale pictured) predicted the money market collapse directed by the brains behind Anchorman doesn’t sound especially Oscar-friendly.
However, The Big Short gained five nominations last week: for film, Bale as best supporting actor, film editing, adapted screenplay and director.
The only real clue here to director Adam McKay’s best known work previously are the real-life celebrities he uses in ridiculous situations to explain the technical financial intricacies of what is being shown here.
A trader played by Ryan Gosling hears of Bale’s prediction and joins forces with a hedge fund manager played by Steve Carell to bet against the housing market and they realise that groups of poor loans are being grouped together and incorrectly being given AAA ratings because of the conflicts of interests of the ratings agencies.
Elsewhere, a retired banker played by Brad Pitt is helping two young investors who are also becoming aware of how lucrative what are called here credit default swaps could be.
These then are the people who benefitted financially when so many people lost their livelihoods as the market crashed after the housing and credit bubble. We might not care so much about them but their story does expose what was allowed to happen. As McKay points out here, much of what went on then is continuing now.
The Big Short has the feel of a documentary. Its sobering message is one that is well worth taking notice of.
- Picture via Facebook courtesy The Big Short. Tickets for Greenwich Picturehouse available here.
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