The Big Short is not only the funniest movie of the year, but its also the most thought provoking, and in turn the most terrifying. Set within the world of a pending financial meltdown, the film’s story of the men combating the big banks isn’t just a great story, but a time capsule of an era, and a staggering array of satire. Director Adam McKay is so obviously passionate, and even furious, about the subject material that the film is vibrant with energy, cutting through the chaos with incredible comedy that’s every bit hilarious as it is disgusting.
There’s a style to the film that makes it seem fresh and relevant, and there’s such a high level of confidence in the fast paced, combative style that makes it even riskier. Luckily, Adam McKay draws the line between satire and ridiculousness, and separates cunning commentary from blind rage. This allows the film to trek into darker territory, while still being a incredible piece of entertainment. What makes The Big Short irresistible isn’t just how shocking it is, but how gleefully self-aware, and even cynical, it’s message is, and how obvious this issue, and the collective ignorance, is.
The ensemble, which actually is an equal ensemble, also benefits from this. Steve Carell gives perhaps the strongest work of the film and his career, giving a grounded, tragic performance that is incredibly hilarious at the same time. Christian Bale is also great, nailing the tormented nature of the character, and while Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling have limited screen time, they make the most with some great character parts that add even more comedy and complexity to the film. Other cast members, namely Finn Wittrock and Karen Gillan, are also strong, and the strength of the overall ensemble holds the film up.
The Big Short is a powerful film, and it’s power doesn’t draw from self importance and preaching, but from bluntness and intelligence. Some films are important and relevant, while some are prime entertainment. In some masterstroke, McKay managed to do both. Grade: A+