The Big Short (2015)

9:46 AM

This is a True Story
The Big Short is directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Other Guys) and stars Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Ides of March), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The 40 Year-Old Virgin) and Brad Pitt (Fight Club, World War Z). "Four denizens 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". The Big Short is a big Oscar contender with 5 nominations but does it have what it takes to win?

The Big Short is a very good film - of course it has its flaws but I definitely wouldn't object if this was to take home a lot on Oscar night. The Revenant had its cinematography, The Big Short has its editing - I think this film is edited really uniquely. Yes, it does take you out of the film at times but I think all in all, you can tell a lot of hard work and effort has gone into the editing of this film. The film also has quite a dark story which they manage to make entertaining and a little humorous without being tasteless. The cast is great and I just think this was very very good. 

So I just mentioned that the editing is what makes this film special - I have never seen a film edited in such a unique and complex way as this - it is just excellent. I am really routing for this to win Best Editing. I think despite the editing being very obvious, the story still flowed quite well. I thought it was interesting to include clips of other media texts (films, viral videos, music videos etc) which all had underlying messages that related to the film. There were also some really good moments where music was in perfect synchrony (think the Suicide Squad trailer) with what was happening on screen. I also really liked how often the fourth wall was broken - it was very clever and did add quite a bit of humour. The Big Short made sure it wasn't just another film about money by including some really good celebrity cameos. Think The Muppets has good cameos? The Big Short does it better. I loved how the film would pause and a voice would say 'And to explain this for you...Margot Robbie in a bubble bath' - this was excellent and I think it was a really clever way for making sure audiences understood the technical and financial terms that the characters use. All of the celebrities featured in cameos did a really nice job. Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez were my favourites - both are actresses that I really like and I thought they both did excellent jobs here. 

It is unusual that you get a film these days that is so obviously postmodern. The Big Short however, is one of those films. The film includes cultural flattening which means that it weakens and jokes about today's cultural beliefs - The Big Short addresses this directly by mentioning how todays public are more interested in the iPod and what female celebrities are going into rehab than they are about the serious stuff like the financial state of the world. The film also uses bricolage and intertextuality - the way it takes clips from other media texts to create something new. Who would have thought 13 Going On 30 would be featured in this film? The film also brings in stars from other industries in order to create something new - acting, singing, cooking. The film also features self-refereeing as it breaks the fourth wall many many times. Even though postmodernism doesn't really say much about the quality of the film, I think it is really refreshing to see a film dare to be different when it could easily be just another dull, drawn out drama. 

The only issue I have with the film is its story. I think even though most of it is explained well, some of it comes across quite confusing and you don't really know exactly what is going on. I think The Big Short is one of those films where you really have to pay attention and have your brain switched on in order to know what is going on - this definitely isn't a passive watch. I'm now going to turn that negative into a positive - cinema today is filled with films that are easy to watch and are made 'To Entertain' but it is nice to see a film that is made not only to entertain but 'To Educate'. Even though I loved the editing, it did occasionally make the story feel a bit messy but it's not a narrative issue, it's just a 'McKay's tried so hard on the editing that he may have forgot to make sure that the story comes through clearly'. 

Finally, the film is acted very very well - solid performances all round from its leading men. Even though Bale got the Oscar praise, I thought Ryan Gosling did the best job - I found his character most likeable to begin with and I thought Gosling did a really good job. Bale also did a very good job and he really made the quirkiness of his character come through. For Steve Carell, this performance is like the middle of Foxcatcher and his comedic roles - it is serious but also humorous at times and he pulls the performance off well. Brad Pitt probably made the smallest impression on me but he definitely didn't put on a bad performance - he was very good in fact. The film does have a very male cast. Usually I would complain about something like this but The Big Short is a true story so I can't really complain about the characters as they are the actual people who were involved. 

The Big Short is another worthy awards contender and I definitely wouldn't complain if this was to take Best Picture. The film is probably the most refreshing editing wise that I have seen in a long time - the cutaways, the inserting of other media texts and the cameos from celebrities all help to make this film very different. Adam McKay has come out of his comfort zone for this and it has certainly paid off - he has made very daring, postmodern decisions and I like the end result. My only complaint is that the story sometimes gets lost and the film doesn't really have the shock factor that was advertised. The Big Short has a great ensemble cast and it has the potential to be a BIG winner on Oscar night. The Big Short - refreshing, daring, informative and a fun watch. 


What did you think of THE BIG SHORT? Were you impressed by the editing? - COMMENT BELOW

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