What would you do if you could see an impending doom coming? That while you could see it clear as day, everyone around you didn’t believe you, no matter what you said. While you might think I am describing the story of “Chicken Little”, I am really talking about four outsiders who saw the collapse of the housing market in 2008 coming years before it happened. This is their story, the ones who indeed said the sky was falling, only to watch it all come true before their very eyes.
Michael Burry (Christian Bale) is one of those guys who just sees numbers. With that ability, Burry has made a lot of people a lot of money, because he can sniff out things. After what Burry discovers, he starts doing something that many people think he is crazy for doing. Soon he is not the only one noticing a problem coming, as Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) also sees it and asks Mark Baum (Steve Carell) to invest and bet on the housing bubble to pop. While many think they are wrong, time ultimately proves them right, as these people predicted the disaster of 2008.
With such a serious and somber subject, seeing Adam McKay’s (Anchorman) name as writer and Director might make you wonder about the tone. It turns out McKay and fellow writer Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale) is the perfect ones to tell this story. Mckay’s fingerprints are all over this movie and give the subject a lighter feel, while still saying what needs to be said. The writing and story are there, now you just have to find the four horsemen who predicted the housing apocalypse, and oh how they did. Lead by Carell, who shows last years “Foxcatcher” was not a flash in the frying pan and Gosling, who also serves as the films narrator at times. Add Bale and Brad Pitt, who plays an ex-banker, who is out of the game, but still helps two younger analyst discover what is going on as well. The films subject could have some people’s eyes glaze over, so the filmmakers use an interesting method to help explain all the jargon and terms that are thrown around. The first three fourths is really strong and only towards the end does the film start to sputter a little. That could be from either the little over two hour run time, or more likely the truth of what happened hitting you like a ton of bricks as the film wraps up. Regardless of the reason, it does little to lessen the impact and enjoyment “The Big Short” will give you. What happened in 2008 changed a lot of people’s lives. While most know by now how it happened, “The Big Short” makes watching it happen all over again, a lot more bearable.