Release Date: December 23, 2015
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, Michael Lewis (book)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Rudy Eisenzopf, Casey Groves, Charlie Talbert, Harold Gervais, Maria Frangos, Christian Bale, Hunter Burke, Bernard Hocke, Shauna Rappold, Brandon Stacy, Aiden Flowers, Peter Epstein, Anthony Marble, Silas Cooper, Steve Carell, Leslie Castay, Andrew Farrier, Tracy Letts, Ingrid Steed, Vanessa Cloke, David Zalkind, Carrie Lazar, Marisa Tomei, Mychael Bates, Brad Pitt, Rajeev Jacob
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 130 minutes
Production Company: Plan B Entertainment, Regency Enterprises, Paramount Pictures
Genre: Biography, Drama
The credit and housing bubble in 2008 was a difficult time for everyone. You might have lost your job, had to leave your home, or a combination of the two. It’s a time that has passed, but the wounds may not have completely healed. It was rough, and you wouldn’t be alone if you never wanted to go through that again. The only positive aspect from such a nightmare, could be from what lessons we all learned. Usually delving into the world of comedy, director Adam McKay goes beyond the surface, piecing together a masterful story, about what exactly happened, and lays a map so the world may never have to relive those dark days again. The film handles a sensitive subject, but it’s a must see that shows how greedy large conglomerates can really be, and if not already known, is an eye-opener to the world we live in.
In regards to the story, the best portion is what you’ll take away with you. No matter how much you think you know, you’ll walk away with a more broad understanding of what happened. Everyone doesn’t understand all the terms of how home loans work, and if someone doesn’t do their research when signing on the dotted line, adjustable rate mortgages, subprime loans, and cda’s can be an enormous amount of jargon to take in. What the film does so well is take a step back, and break it down in the simplest ways possible. It’s either an actor stepping out of character addressing the audience, or has the film literally jump out of itself to sit with a celebrity, who explains it all in layman’s terms.
Though no matter how swift a film is, or how superb a directing choice at the helm, what brings it all to life is the acting. Ranging from the well-known, to the up and coming talents, every performance had an impact on depicting the gravity of the situation. The leads stole the show of course, and their introduction was vast, and welcoming. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) capitalized on every chance that presented itself, without taking advantage. It may appear otherwise, but he couldn’t help what opportunities fell into his lap. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) didn’t care for the sarcasm or snapping of faces. He knew his field of work in and out, and made preparations for every outcome. Given Bale’s outspoken personality, his casting was key in portraying his character. He was a man who thought outside the box, so it was wise to consider his judgment. Mark Baum (Steve Carell) had deep issues that haunted him daily. His loud over powering charisma was a shield to hide his pain. Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) knew that enough is enough, and had clever insight on when to step back in or out of the game. All these men came from different walks of life, but were the men that predicted the housing crisis, and pleaded with others while being constantly ignored.
While this film is a great history book to years not so long ago, towards the end it did start to repeat itself. I understand what it was trying to accomplish, by giving you a full understanding of all the important events, but there’s only so many ways you can switch on a light. The editing was another crafty tool that pieced the puzzle together, but during the third act, instead of smooth transitions between resolutions, long awkward pauses between scenes took up the remaining runtime. It was a jarring effect from the excellence that cam prior. From this small mistake it halted the pacing, making the film feel long and drawn out. It didn’t ruin the film, but stood out removing the crown of perfection.
If there was any moment you’d begin to get confused, the director knew, and had a flushed out answer to ease your mind. That’s what made the film a success at story-telling. The film was bold and didn’t hold back from the events that happened in 2008. While being based on a true story, if you were directly affected by what happened, this film may be an emotional journey for you. At times it was painful to watch, due to the criminality that went on behind the scenes, and hopefully it encourages change, and won’t go overlooked.