'Big Short' goes long on comedy to look at 2007-09 financial crisis
Published: 2015-12-10 00:17:29.0 BdST Updated: 2015-12-10 00:20:17.0 BdST
It is not easy to find the humour in the financial crisis that hit the US economy eight years ago, but the "The Big Short" uses comedy as a lens to examine the intricacies and failures of Wall Street.
The movie, starring Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell and out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, takes a quirky look at the mortgage-backed security debacle that led to the US sliding into recession from 2007, and the money managers who bet against the financial might of the US economy.
And it had nothing to do with short people.
"I wanted to show that (the financial collapse) was more about a system than it was about individuals," director Adam McKay told Reuters. "We need banking. Banking is not, in essence, bad ... we just need not corrupt banking."
Instead, he adapted financial journalist Michael Lewis' best-selling book "The Big Short" by taking audiences on a farcical journey into the little understood world of high finance that led to the recession and some 8.7 million Americans losing their jobs.
"The Big Short" film follows real-life 'shorts' - investors that bet against rising stock and bond prices - portrayed by Bale, Pitt, Carell and Ryan Gosling.
Cast members (L-R) Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei and Steve Carell pose at the premiere of 'The Big Short' during the closing night of AFI Fest 2015 in Hollywood, California November 12, 2015. Reuters
The bad debt was repackaged into exotic securities sold to unaware investors. When 'shorts' such as Dr Michael Burry (Bale) discovered the flawed securities, they bet against them but faced making billions of dollars from people who were going to lose their life savings in the near financial collapse.
Like Lewis’ book, the movie displays the systemic farce that caused the loss of jobs, homes and savings. It also explores the social conscience of some Wall Streeters who know every trade has two sides – winners and losers.
"It's got a lot of different gears to it, and that's what life has," McKay said.
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