The Big Short Blu-ray Review
THE BIG SHORT features the kind of cast that movie fans usually only dream about. We have A-list stars Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling teamed with superstar comedian Steve Carell. But leave it to comedy director Adam McKay to cast three A-list stars in his film and never have them share the screen together. But that doesn’t matter because the film succeeds anyway, thanks in large part to the comedy-style telling of what might be one of the saddest true events in the last couple of decades.
When the housing market bottomed out in the mid 2000’s, millions of people got hurt. But for those of us that followed the story in the papers (or narrowly escaped ruin), we know that the people responsible for the economic collapse got off without a scratch. THE BIG SHORT tells the story of the guy that saw everything coming (Michael Burry, played by Christian Bale) and actually bet against the housing market and made millions off of it. When he started his maneuvering, he caught the attention of Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who piggy-backed on Burry’s discovery and started hedging his own bets with the help of Mark Baum (Steve Carell). Meanwhile, two kids also learned about Burry’s plan and reached out to their mentor, Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to start their own bet against the housing market.
The film focuses on how the three groups figured out the housing market was going to crash and how they went about betting against it. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of information that has to be explained in order for the audience to follow along and most of that explanation comes in the form of random cuts to celebrities like Margot Robbie or Selena Gomez explaining some details. It was a cute gimmick, but when you couple that with Baum basically existing to explain things, too much of the movie was spent educating the audience on the basics of financial trading. And since the idea of a “short” is one of the more complicated aspects of financial trading, I’m guessing most people left the theater still not understanding the concept.
But even with that, THE BIG SHORT plays out like a fast-paced action movie. McKay doesn’t waste any time moving from scene to scene and Ryan Gosling acts as the glue to hold the movie together and move it along. Gosling was a perfect casting option for McKay since his character is a bit of a weasel, but it’s important that the audience like him. Gosling balanced the line perfectly and was easily the highlight of the film.
I imagine that the tone of THE BIG SHORT will catch people off guard. Movies like MARGIN CALL or WALL STREET deal with financial issues with more intensity and seriousness. But THE BIG SHORT tackles the biggest financial collapse of our lifetime with a breezy, almost humorous tone and it’s tough to get accustomed to in the beginning. But the point of THE BIG SHORT is that it’s immensely entertaining. It’s a fun movie and even though the subject matter is depressing, McKay told the story in a manner that kept the audience glued to the screen and hopefully, audiences learned something from his film and with a little hope and a lot of prayer, we won’t suffer through anything like this again (the collapse, not the movie).
Video: THE BIG SHORT looks fantastic on Blu-ray
Audio: The audio was fine.
Deleted Scenes (6:32): Five scenes in all, none of which make that much of a difference and one of them is actually an extended scene.
In the Trenches: Casting (15:49): A fluff piece talking about how great all the actors were and why they were right for the roles.
The Big Leap: Adam McKay (11:30): The cast talks about how great Adam McKay is and briefly discuss his taking on a more serious subject matter.
Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short (11:27): Another fluff piece, this time focusing on the characters as opposed to the actors playing the characters.
The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall (14:00): A true, but too brief account of the real housing collapse.
Getting Real: Recreating an Era (11:12): This focuses on the more technical, traditional aspects of making a movie, including costumes, editing, settings, etc.