The Big Short is just about the best film I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s as if Guy Ritchie and Michael Moore took some coke together and decided to make a film about the almost-complete financial meltdown of the world. Based on Michael Lewis’ 2010 bestseller, it delves deeply into both the mechanics of the crash and the mentality that drove us there. It doesn’t pander, isn’t emotionally overwrought and gives just about the best explanation that I’ve heard of a synthetic CDO thanks to Selena Gomez and behavioural economist Richard Thaler.
The casting is spot on with Steve Carrell giving an amazing career-defining performance. It has a fast-based, but not overly hyper-kinetic style, and is leavened through with a kind of gallows-humour, as expected given director Adam McKay’s background in comedy. It’s also a film that treats the underlying ideas seriously, but it also never feels too complicated and plot-driven, no mean feat for a director.