There are fine performances, notably from Bale and an almost unrecognisably world-weary Pitt, and smaller players Spall and Strong; yet half-hearted attempts at backstory and patchy character development constitute an admission that the screenwriters couldn’t juggle so many characters. Bale’s character, though entertaining, is a clichéd eccentric, and Gosling’s narrator is infuriating, lording over the assumed audience with economic explanations that are somehow both patronising and poorly thought-out.
Though boldly stylised with, for instance, a winking Margot Robbie cameo, The Big Short fails to deliver a consistent moral standpoint, and ironically falls into the kind of cheap hypocrisy of some of its characters.
CAST: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong
DIRECTOR: Adam McKay
WRITERS: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (screenplay), Michael Lewis (book)
SYNOPSIS: Four groups of traders in the world of high finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight.