The Big Short
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The Big Short

Adam McKay has delivered an energetic, highly entertaining movie that could be titled ‘The 2008 Credit Bubble Burst for Dummies’. That dummy would be me.

With a terrific cast and rollicking Cliff-note explanations along the way, this savvy and often very funny adaptation of Michael Lewis’ bestseller centers around the guys who cashed in on our misfortunes. Our master of ceremonies in this scary circus is Ryan Gosling, slickly terrific as the guy who gets almost nice guy Steve Carell’s hedge fund team to buy into his plan to bet against the housing boom. A fabulous Christian Bale plays a San Jose hedge funder who knows a teetering economy when he sees one, even if nobody else believes him. And then there’s the duo of Finn Whittrock and John Magaro, who tap mentor Brad Pitt into their scheme, despite his somewhat mixed morals about the thing. All are magnetic forces of nature: we can’t help but fall under their spell, rooting for them as they root against us.

All of the jazzy cuts and oh-wow cameos get a bit wearying and eventually, the smart political asides water down to more traditional and obvious preaching. But maybe some people need to be hit over their heads on this. Consumers, investors and perhaps even our leaders seem to have short memories and big dreams. Starry, approachable morality tales like this one clearly aim to wake everybody up.

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