If you haven’t read The Big Short, it tells the true story of the individuals on Wall Street who saw the sub-prime crash coming and profited hugely from it. The received critical wisdom when you watch McKay’s film version, this week nominated rightly for five Academy Awards including best film and best director, is that it is a heroic attempt to finally have us understand all those arcane concepts and financial instruments that threatened our lives – credit default swaps, collaterised debt obligations and the rest – and not only that but to find devastating comedy in them. Perhaps more importantly, it conveys the fact that far from being some abstract cataclysm of faceless institutions too big to fail, this was very much a manmade disaster. All of those short sellers who saw it coming are brought to compulsive life on the screen, played at full throttle by Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt – but the reason they are so believable is that they were brought to such vivid reality in the pages of Michael Lewis’s book.
Interesting profile. I’m looking forward to seeing the film.