The Big Short: Anger, anger and more anger

After finishing watching The Big Short, it reminded me of the little known 2011 film (but with an amazing cast) called Margin Call.

Both films talk about the great financial crash of 2008, both films agree that what happened during the period was a colossal fuck up, but The Big Short goes one step further and asks, why hasn’t anyone or any bank been held responsible for what happened?

The Big Short is quite simply a fantastic film. To an extent, it might just be too good because the overriding feeling it left me with was one of pure anger.

How is it possible that people were allowed to sell dodgy mortgage debts and present them as stellar packages? How were they allowed to play the system like this? Why didn’t the regulators, the rating agencies and our politicians do anything about it?

I have nothing but angry questions…


But setting that aside, this film has very little faults. I could complain about the heavy handed way the film presents its politics (I’m looking at you Brad Pitt) but that would be nitpicking to the extreme.

Damn near every actor in this film is note perfect and I see why Steve Carell was nominated for an Oscar. It’s getting to a point where it’s offensive to refer to Carell as a comedian. It’s clear now that he is much more than that. Yes, his comedic chops are there for all to see in this The Big Short, but as he has proven in this movie and Foxcatcher and The Way Way Back, Steve can act his ass off.

I remember 2008, I had just got out of university and all of the sudden, everyone was telling me there were no jobs. No future. It was a very scary time. A confusing and complicated time. I cannot remember one politician or intellectual accurately explaining what the hell happened in an way that was easy to understand. For me, The Big Short and Margin Call have a fair crack of doing just that. I am not going to lie and say that I understand it all, because I don’t – but at least I feel like I have some idea of what happened.

What is fascinating, is that both The Big Short and Margin Call make the explicit point that public didn’t want to know what was happening. We didn’t want to know the truth, we didn’t want to know that the party was over and the sky was falling. All we wanted was to continue spending money we don’t have and worry about it later.

Have times really changed?





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