Sunday 31 January 2016

Review: The Big Short

World of Blackout Film Review

The Big Short Poster

The Big Short
Cert: 15 / 130 mins / Dir. Adam McKay / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

Okay, I actually have plenty of notes and observations from watching Adam McKay's The Big Short, but it occurs to me that they're all largely redundant for one reason: it's pretty difficult to effectively critique a film that you didn't really understand. And please believe me, I'm not being cooly self-deprecating when I tell you that I went to watch a movie about the 2008 financial collapse*1, and came out knowing pretty much the same amount as when I went in. Which isn't that much. And it's not like the mechanics of the central conceit aren't explained to the audience, directly and on several occasions. The main problem with this movie was sitting in seat E5…

Y'see, for all its no-nonsense, straight-talking style, there's still a layer of smugness lightly draped over the whole thing, as you're assured by a character that it's supposed to be bafflingly complex while he metaphorically winks at you and whispers "…but you get it, right?". Even half the characters still didn't understand it by the end of the film, and they'd been party to the same information as the audience had. And they work in finance, so I had no chance. As (intentionally) erratic as the performances are, it felt a little like watching an episode of Hustle, but where you know how it's going to end, there's no 'reveal' and you can't bring yourself to like anyone.

And then at one point, Christian Bale's character is explaining that he's got a glass-eye while moving both of his eyes, so then I'm sat thinking 'is that even possible?' and a bit of Googling later tells me that in some cases where the surrounding muscles haven't been damaged, yes it is possible, but I had enough on my bloody plate without throwing that into the mix, as well. But I was able to instantly name the Metallica tracks he listened to, so that made me feel good about myself for a few, brief seconds. I imagine that was the point.

But yeah, The Big Short probably quite good, I guess?
Don't ask me, I wouldn't know.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The Wolf Of Wall Street, I guess?.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
The documentary-style camerawork and fast-cuts mean that you'll probably end up with a headache if you watch the film on a cinema-sized screen.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Even accounting for my density, probably not.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I can't imagine so.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: The film features a brief appearance by Margot Robbie, who starred in About Time alongside Domhnall 'Hux' Gleeson.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 A collapse whose effects saw the company I worked for at the time effectively dissolve leaving me unemployed, so it's not like I have no interest in the subject.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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