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Non-Review Review: The Big Short

The Big Short manages the deft task of being clever while being light, of being thorough without being slow, of being self-aware and ironic while still being earnest.

The Big Short is a very delicate cocktail, a precisely-calibrated high-wire act that threatens to collapse at any moment like the banking system it so scathingly indicts. If the financial markets that spurred the crisis were built upon the illusion of knowledge and projection of confidence, it seems reasonable to wonder the same thing of Adam McKay’s wry dramedy. There are several stretches of the movie that seem too ridiculous to be true, only for characters to break the fourth wall and assure the audience as to the veracity of what is portrayed on-screen.

At the margins...

At the margins…

The Big Short is pulled in multiple directions at the same moment, constantly wary of being pulled too far in one direction or the other. The film balances very carefully, trying to find the middle-ground between “too light” and “too heavy” as it offers an introduction to (and whistle-stop tour of) the financial crisis. There is a sense that The Big Short might go too far in any given moment; that its portrayal of the bubble as farce might shatter the verisimilitude, or that the anger simmering beneath the surface might explode and burn up the screen.

However, the most remarkable thing about The Big Short is not how skilfully it tells its story, but how easy it makes all this look.

Just the Pitts...

Just the Pitts…

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