A socially awkward, non practicing MD, and current investor (Christian Bale) foresees the housing crash and plunges his client's capital in betting against that market to their great chagrin. This perceived lunatic scheme is grasped by several members of the financial sector (including a Wall Street hotshot (Ryan Gosling), a moralizing hedge fund manager (Steve Carell), and two greenhorn investors who gain the ear of an financial guru (Brad Pitt)), who piggyback on the idea and profit enormously off the country's devastation. Adam McKay begins The Big Short with an approach as shaky as the housing market it describes with an inexplicable, uncinematic mumblecore approach while going to too great of lengths to make its material accessible including characters breaking the fourth wall, asides, cameos, drawings, graphs, onscreen dictionary entries, and other docu-style gimmicks used to enhance boring subject matter. However, as the film grows closer and closer to the market collapse, it dials down the gimmickry and its minimalist approach gains traction and begins to complement the material and the angry sentiment quite well. The cast is excellent with the exception of Pitt, who again exists solely for delivering a culminating sermon. Bale and especially Carell are standouts.
*** out of ****