Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Big Short Review

The Big Short is one of eight films nominated for the accolade of Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars. It is also probably the most star-studded cast of the nominees with Hollywood A listers Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling taking up main roles in the film. But does the film really deserve to be nominated especially for such a huge honour that the Best Picture category is?

The Big Short is based on the economic collapse in America during 2008. It features Christian Bale as Michael Burry, a anti social oddity who comes across a large of number of subprime home loans that are in great danger of defaulting. By realising this he decides to bank against many of the banks that the housing scheme will crumble with many taking him on as the offer seemed too good to pass by. This attracts the attention of Jeremy Vennett (Ryan Gosling), Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) and other greedy opportunists who are looking to become rich if this situation comes true. They all have the same aim, to get rich off of this economic disaster. 

The Big Short tries to make the banking and what ever else is going on seem interesting. I say tries because not at all times does it succeed. I guess you kind of have to have a knowledge of certain terms to fully appreciate what is going on but I don't even know if that would make it more interesting to be honest. The film does try and use some celebrity cameos, such as Margot Robbie in a bath to explain........erm...... ugh I'm not perfectly sure. I think many people would be focusing on something else rather than the explanation of the certain terms being used in the films. The film used this style a few times to try and explain what was going on which I do think was a good idea and could've worked well. I just don't think that the source material is particularly interesting enough to draw you in and failed to do so with me. Overall the film really isn't that interesting but the effort to try and make it so is admirable but unfortunately I didn't feel worked. 

I would most definitely say that this films success is mainly down to the talent portraying these characters. Christian Bale was excellent in his role as this oddball genius who under covers this many years before it happens. He is great as he works out these equations and numbers whilst simultaneously rocking out in his office whilst his employees sit in shock as they look at this genius. My only complaint is that I wanted to see more of his character. I don't feel he was in it enough and the film would've been more enjoyable if he had been in it for longer.

Christian Bale as Michael Burry

Ryan Gosling was also great in this film as Jeremy Vennett who goes around bringing this possibility to many investors and trying to get people to back the idea of the housing situation crumbling. Gosling's charisma in this role worked perfectly and was also used a lot of the time for comedic effect. His smart arse ways were great to watch as well as his breaking of the fourth wall to narrate what was going on in certain scenes. He certainly brought some life and humour to the film which at times it really needed. Steve Carrell continues to prove that he is an incredible dramatic actor in this film as he is great once again. He may very well of been nominated had it not been for Christian Bale beating him to it. Who would've thought that the guy who loved lamp in Anchorman and 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' would become one of the top serious actors? Brad Pitt was also very good as Ben Rickert, a former banker who has came back to help two up and comers try and make some money. Although his character dislikes what banking does, he has no qualms participating and helping being a part of the greediness involved. This does not take anything away from Pitt as he produced a strong performance. 

Carrell and Gosling were both great.

The Big Short is directed by Adam McKay, director of films such as both Anchormans, Step Brothers and The Other Guys. As you can see these are mainly comedy films which makes it surprising to see him go for quite a serious movie with quite a little opportunity to make quips and jokes. He does bring a unique style to this film with his use of camera work throughout the film, some working better than others. You can see him bringing traits from previous films over with him such as breaking away from reality to allow a character to speak directly to the audience. This I feel worked well and did actually work well. However there was something that McKay continued to do that I didn't feel added anything to the product. At times, the camera would be focussing on characters talking and the camera would not stay still and would continue to move around whilst the dialogue was still going on. This often made the camera blurred and take time to refocus and I don't really see what this did to add to the film. I definitely feel that this is something it could've done without. The film as well used a lot of what seemed like slides and many cuts to either explain or show a passing in time which I do feel worked fairly well. 

I don't feel this film really should of been up for Best Picture. Maybe that's due to eight nominees being far too many when every other category has just the five. I really don't feel that the film is that great especially with who it is up against, I feel that it is easily dwarfed by many of the other contenders. I was fairly disappointed with this film in all honesty. I had looked forward to this film for a long time and I don't feel it lived up to my expectations. Maybe that was due to the Oscar nomination which may have built it up a whole lot more for me. The film isn't bad, I just don't feel it is quite at the level it has been put at.

The Big Short at times made the audience feel like this

Final verdict: The Big Short = C
The performances in this film is most certainly the best part of this film which struggles to create much interest. This isn't entirely the films fault as the concept isn't really that intriguing as a whole. I wouldn't rush to go out and see this one and personally don't see myself re-watching this any time soon.

So there are my thoughts about 'The Big Short', if you have seen it what did you think of it? Do you feel that it was rightfully nominated in the Oscars? Once again thank you for reading, it means a lot!

By Angus McGregor