A group of financiers predict the credit and housing bubble burst in 2008 and, as radical outsiders, take on the banks with their heady mix of greed and hedonism. Dr Michael Barry (Christian Bale) bets against the housing market with the banks, who are only too happy to accommodate his investments as such a collapse as he is predicting has never happened in financial history.
His fellow campaigners in this apocalyptic and subversive comedy include Javed Vennett (Ryan Gosling) and Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) and they leave no stone unturned in their search to see the extent of the impending downfall. The film benefits by being based on the real life account of Michael Lewis in ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’. Adam McKay’s direction is fast-paced and at times experimental with actors talking to camera and a number of celebrity cameos which add to the comic capers.
The eventual and inevitable financial crisis is met with disgust rather than delight, though those who had predicted did come out of it all quite comfortably whilst the public suffered unspeakably. This is an intelligent film that manages to make its economic subject both sexy and funny and the ensemble performance builds up the narrative with clarity and charm. And of course those at fault in this debacle retained their high-powered positions and we can only fear such deception and duplicity could repeat itself.