Disclaimer: The movie I just saw had a lot of swearing in it, so you can rest assured this post will, too.
Well I’m scared to shit.
I’m twenty-one years old. I still haven’t completed my university degree. My subject of study is freakin’ Creative Writing. I know fuck-all about Wall Street. So keep that in mind when reading what I’m about to say about The Big Short.
Let’s get all the usual problems out of the way. The large majority of the characters are white guys. It doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. Yes, yes, yes, that all sucks. Frankly, I don’t care much in this case.
The Big Short will make you laugh, and then make you feel guilty for laughing. Even though we all know how the film ends, it will make you root for the main characters and simultaneously hope they lose everything. It will make you want to punch someone. It will make you want to hug someone. It will make you want to vomit.
It will make you want to watch it again and take notes.
It does what a film is supposed to do and more. The Big Short follows three separate stories with many compelling characters. The plot will give you a huge dose of intensity, drama, and the vague sense of doom, but will do it all with a spoonful of sugar. And best/worst of all, it’s based on a true story—one we all know.
Quick synopsis (which kind of has spoilers but we all know the housing market went belly-up around 2007-08 so they’re not really spoilers):
It is 2005 and a few select people have noticed that the American economy is built on say…termite-infested stilts. They decide to bet against Wall Street so that when the market crashes, they’ll be rich.
2006 rolls around and people are either furious at these people for betting against a seemingly solid economy, or love these people for looking like they’re giving out free money.
2007 arrives and it turns out these people were right, but the big guys who’ve screwed everyone aren’t ready to admit it and are screwing everyone even more while they still can. Shit goes down.
2008: “We’re all fucked.”
I’m glad The Big Short was made into a film. There was a 0% chance I’d ever have read the book it was based on, and a 1% chance I’d ever have seen it if it were a documentary instead, so I’m glad. It’s scared me shitless for my future (as if I wasn’t scared enough about it), but in a good way. It’s good to have a scare every once in a while, and the best scares come in the form of comedy-marketed films like this one.