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The Big Short (2015)

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In 2006-7 a group of investors bet against the US mortgage market. In their research they discover how flawed and corrupt the market is.

Director:

Adam McKay

Writers:

Charles Randolph (screenplay by), Adam McKay (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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460 ( 59)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 37 wins & 79 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Gosling ... Jared Vennett
Rudy Eisenzopf ... Lewis Ranieri
Casey Groves ... Fund Manager
Charlie Talbert ... Lewis Bond Trader
Harold Gervais Harold Gervais ... Lewis Bond Trader
Maria Frangos Maria Frangos ... Exotic Dancer
Christian Bale ... Michael Burry
Hunter Burke ... Analyst
Bernard Hocke Bernard Hocke ... Coach
Shauna Rappold ... Michael Burry's Mom
Brandon Stacy ... Michael Burry's Dad
Aiden Flowers ... Young Michael Burry
Peter Epstein ... Paul Baum
Anthony Marble ... Therapy Businessman
Silas Cooper ... Therapy Businessman
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Storyline

Three separate but parallel stories of the U.S mortgage housing crisis of 2005 are told. Michael Burry, an eccentric ex-physician turned one-eyed Scion Capital hedge fund manager, has traded traditional office attire for shorts, bare feet and a Supercuts haircut. He believes that the US housing market is built on a bubble that will burst within the next few years. Autonomy within the company allows Burry to do largely as he pleases, so Burry proceeds to bet against the housing market with the banks, who are more than happy to accept his proposal for something that has never happened in American history. The banks believe that Burry is a crackpot and therefore are confident in that they will win the deal. Jared Vennett with Deutschebank gets wind of what Burry is doing and, as an investor believes he too can cash in on Burry's beliefs. An errant telephone call to FrontPoint Partners gets this information into the hands of Mark Baum, an idealist who is fed up with the corruption in the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the men who saw the end See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$705,527, 13 December 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$70,259,870

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$133,346,506
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite Adam McKay regular Will Ferrell not appearing in the film, there is a nod to him. During one of the earlier transition themes, there is a shot of a young girl saying 'I want my money'. This is taken from a Funnyordie sketch, 'the landlord' featuring Will Ferrell and his young daughter. The short film was written by Adam McKay. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie and Jamie leave their hotel in Las Vegas, the camera is visible behind them, reflected in the shiny gold doors. See more »

Quotes

Mark Baum: It's time to call bullshit.
Vinnie Daniel: Bullshit on what?
Mark Baum: Every fucking thing.
See more »

Connections

References Top Gun (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
(from the musical The Phantom Of The Opera)
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe (as Richard Henry Zachary S. Stilgoe), and Mike Batt
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A delightful merging of information and comedy
29 December 2015 | by Steve PulaskiSee all my reviews

No subject in the world is inherently interesting or uninteresting, for it's always about the communicative method or channel used to promote or inform one about the subject that is either interesting or not. Having said that, some subjects are more alienating than others, and one of those subjects is economics/finance, largely because of its dependency upon a plethora of terminology and jargon that usually cannot be adequately defined without including other terminology or jargon. Before you know it, searching the definition of something like a "Roth IRA" leads you to Google searches about embezzlement and quantitative easing in efforts to try and circumvent and define what you were originally looking for.

Thankfully, Adam McKay's The Big Short assumes the audience is fairly stupid and blissfully ignorant when it comes to the interworkings of what led to the global economic crisis of 2007-2008, which saw record unemployment and catastrophic results for the usually reliable housing market. In true movie fashion, we observe the financial crash, not from an insider standpoint, where sure-fire, grade-A trades and exchanges are being made, but by a plethora of quirky outsiders trying to run away from a boulder that keeps gaining on them until it flattens them and everyone in their tracks. The only ones saved are the ones who didn't manage to fall or stumble when pushing said boulder down the hill in the first place.

We initially meet a quirky hedge fund manager named Michael Burry (Christian Bale), who discovers that the U.S. housing market is based on a series of subprime loans (which, we are told by Margot Robbie as she soaks in a bubblebath whilst sipping champagne, may as well be synonymous with "s***") and is inevitably going to collapse sometime in the second quarter of 2007. Being that the housing market is often viewed as the safest bet in America, Michael begins to go around to different banks to bet against the stability and long-term security of the housing market in efforts to profit from the impending disaster.

Then there's Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), a fairly small-time investor, who winds up putting in his own money to bet against the housing market, along with Mark Baum (Steve Carell), a cynical and depressed banker of many years. The two wind up discovering that the market collapse is further aided by the solicitation of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), basically collections of the aforementioned subprime loans that come packaged together and market as competent and reliable investments.

Finally, there's Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), two young-bloods anxious to break into the financial market. The inexperienced duo enlist in the help of a retired, conservative banker named Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt), who helps them make decisions with their money. Unlike the other more experienced men, both Charlie and Jamie lack the kind of gusto and namesake that allows them into the offices of big name bankers. As a result, they pine for a bigger piece of the pie in a smaller way, largely by lounging in their parents' basements, hunched over their iPads.

The Big Short functions as a competent, satirical anthology that breaks down the financial crisis - that is now nearly a decade old, if you can believe that - enough to be informative and entertaining. Considering this is from Adam McKay, a frequent collaborator with Will Ferrell and Funny or Die, responsible for films like Casa De Mi Padre, The Other Guys, and Step Brothers, this is a huge step in the right direction for him as a name in comedy and satire. Rather than focusing on a bargain-barrel Spanish telenovela satire or a tired, mean-spirited comedy based around who can yell the loudest, McKay sets his sights on peddling information through the most communicable form - entertainment. If you can succeed in meriting consistent laughs while teaching an audience something, you have profoundly succeeded at two things many have a difficult time accomplishing in a separate sense. That alone is worth considerable praise.

While the screenplay by McKay and Charles Randolph is undoubtedly a big part at why this film succeeds, The Big Short is a true testament to brilliant comedic acting on various cylinders, as well. The men of the hour, specifically, are both Bale and Carell, seriously taking on opposite personas that they pull off to a tee. Bale plays confused and downright quirky with just the right amount of edge to make him believable rather than hopelessly incompetent or downright silly, and Carell's sporadic bouts of rage and lack of self-awareness make him all the more watchable screen presence. Other performances, like Gosling's, who serves as the infrequent, anti-hero narrator, is notable for its brash charm, in addition to Pitt, who works largely because he's even more understated and harder to define than in his latest film By the Sea.

The Big Short has a lot of comedic value, but it's nonetheless a frightening depiction of where America is currently at; a depressing oligarchy, controlled and manipulated by those with money at the mercy of those without. We've seen "The Great Recession of 2007," as it's sometimes called, plunge numerous working class and poor families into further states of hopelessness, while those who helped cause and further the effects of the recession have gone on to have a road of many ups and few downs since then. McKay's eye, ear, and talent for conducting satire in a way that's simultaneously uproariously funny, in addition to having the ability to be truly upsetting, is quite marvelous and unexpected, and one can only hope that with proper recognition and compensation for his efforts on this film, he furthers down this path rather than the one he was previously on.


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