feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Big Short opens quietly, it does not reveal itself to be the extravaganza that the trailer makes itself out to be, its characters and intentions are revealed in a patient manner, and the weight behind its tale would slowly rise and overwhelm you, despite one’s knowledge of the ultimate outcome. It reflects a time in reality that the world is at its weakest, where the damage was catastrophic, and society suffocated from the lies and deceit from those they have trusted.
Much like in the familiar vein of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short is not afraid to be edgy, to cut through the barrier between the film and its audience, reminding us of the absurdity that is about to come ahead. However, director Adam McKay does not simply rehash the aesthetics of an inspired auteur, but instead take some of its elements and pulsate it with substance that would penetrate the soul of its viewer, to hit on their familiar aches and disgust towards the experience, and doing so without having to result to overbearing images of the crumbling domesticity. Its perspective remains on the trying efforts of those who had foreseen the collapsing and fraudulent system, and for that, I applaud.
Its cast of characters repels the glorification that many films may try to approach with in telling such a story, indeed their goal in searching for the meticulous cracks of an upcoming economic desolation, and their pursuit to earn generous profit from such an event, is certainly an exhilarating one, but deep in its roots exist a moral core that justifies and layers their intentions; we find ourselves sitting comfortably on their shoulders, clenching with hope that they would succeed, but simultaneously they are passed with a criticisms of their own doing, and through McKay’s assured direction, it paints the immoral outlook of business, and with that, we are given much greater room to speculate.
The Big Short succeeds in thrusting the audience into the emotional atmosphere of their two year journey, but simultaneously it persists with an alienating barrier, through the deep financial jargon that does its best to explain with an energetic wit, but unfortunately, it isn’t enough to keep my mind completely immersed, but thankfully, it never extends itself to a point where I am left in the cold, I still was primarily orientated of the general atmosphere that surrounds them, feeling the highlights and frustrations that run through them, and given such a topic, I cannot help but be somewhat impressed.
Bolstered by an array of talented performers, each member of the cast play their positions well, and neither of them feel like a replica of another, distinct in their personality and goal, multiple stories interlocking, but never completely with comfort, at a meet at a potential crossroad, painting a vast picture of those who thrived in their intelligence and patience. With such a film, it is difficult to distinguish the leading, or even the better, actor, as each with their own role to play and each with their own set of demands. Bale, Pitt, Gosling, and Carrell all managed to encapsulate their roles without dampening of quality, and is paired with equally strong supporting performances that all accumulate to a wonderful experience.
The Big Short is a film that cannot be pinned down as a character study, its goals are too broad and themes are too ambitious, its scope is expansive and remains so until the very end, yet emotional resonance is felt as one reaches closer and closer to its eventual end, and even then, we are able to perceive the circular loop that reflects our own reality. It isn’t afraid to be biting and it isn’t short of amusement, it is ambitiously stuffed that aims to satisfy, and I cannot deny the film of reaching such an achievement. Sure, many may feel entirely cold by the intricacies of its content, but if one lets themselves go and simply view upon the big picture, one is sure to come out of the film feeling something.