The Big Short | Chicago Reader

The Big Short

Adapted from a nonfiction best seller by Michael Lewis (Moneyball), this ambitious but lumbering comedy looks at a handful of peripheral investors who predicted and figured out how to profit from the collapse of the U.S. housing market in 2007 and '08. This is a story of complex financial instruments and not-too-complex people: writer-director Adam McKay, best known for broad comedies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights, riffs on the financial arcana that hid the growing crisis from a trivia-obsessed public—in a typical gag, University of Chicago economist Richard Thayer is paired with pop singer Selena Gomez to explain synthetic collateralized debt obligations—but he can't get his arms around the various speculators, who know each other tangentially if at all and who hardly redeem themselves with their pro forma hand-wringing over the ordinary people who'll be destroyed when the bubble bursts. With Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, and Marisa Tomei.

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