Saw this yesterday and it was very, very good. They did an excellent job of taking a dry, complicated topic and explaining it in an entertaining, riveting way. It’s about the collapse of the USA financial systems in 2007. Having just lived through it, it was fresh in my memory. It was interesting to see the story told from the perspective of Wall Street insiders, some that are actually sympathetic characters. Tons of drama, especially by Steve carrell. I had forgotten that when he does drama, he gives it 200%. Brilliant actor!
I walked out at the end feeling sad and pissed off and very, very lucky. Compared to many people I got through that financial crash with little damage. The movie made me recount the losses I took at the time and the impact on my lifestyle and retirement savings.
Saw it and loved it! It’s the sort of film that has to explain something that is very complicated - something that was deliberately made complex and opaque - and made it as clear as possible for a general audience. The “special guest segments” came from out of the blue and ought to be released by the movie studio to help explain these concepts to students.
Saw it on Christmas Day, in a packed theater. I figured (a) everybody would be home with their families or (b) seeing Star Wars, so I was stunned.
Loved it. And I followed everything pretty well, except that I’m still not sure why the 2 young guys from Colorado were desperate to sell their swaps at the end. They still wound up making money, right?
I left thinking: thank God for Michael Lewis. The moral of the story was that we learned absolutely nothing from this mess; but if anything can change that, it’s a popular movie.
It’s too bad 99 Homes with Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield and Laura Dern is out of the theaters because it would make for killer double feature with The Big Short. It’s about the scumbags who made a killing on foreclosed homes after the collapse. It’s a very good movie.
Yep, that was one of those gadgets where it could have so easily seemed like they were treating the audience like idiots but instead it simply removed the intimidation factor from the topic.
I also liked how they made the characters sympathetic by showing how they were scandalized by the fraud they discovered (while at the same time trying to benefit from it). Or rather, they first thought of just making a killing but as they found the rabbit hole getting deeper they got more upset and pissed off.
I guess I’ll be the lone voice of dissent; it wasn’t a bad film but I didn’t like it. It was more an illustrated documentary than a movie. We never stay with a character for long enough for any of them to become more than a collection of quirks: this one has Asbergers and a fake eye and loves heavy metal drumming. This one’s a foul-mouthed jerk but loves his brother.
There’s no suspense because we know what’s going to happen. But worse, and fatally for the movie, none of the characters are ever in any suspense about what is going to happen. They are all clairvoyant and know exactly what will happen and are just waiting around like us for the inevitable denouement. Lost a billion dollars? Doesn’t matter; I know I’m right. Crank “Master of Puppets” again.
I believe absolutely that some people saw the housing crisis coming and bet according but this movie doesn’t feel like that story. It felt to me very much like watching stock characters listen incredulously to sound bites lifted verbatim from a popular book detailing the excesses of the housing crisis.
I think this movie is rated something like 90% fresh on RottenTomatoes so I accept that mine is a very minority view and most people enjoyed it and will enjoy it. I just wasn’t one of them.
I disagree with this totally. They knew they were getting in on something that everybody else seemed to be missing, but it wasn’t until the mortgages started collapsing while the MBS and CBO ratings remained high that they started to realize something else was going on. They all started to doubt their math skills, wondering if they’d missed something. Then, remember, Steve Carrell’s character directly confronted the blind lady (that was rather heavy handed, but still funny) at Standard and Poor’s. She admitted to him that if they didn’t give the banks the ratings they asked for, the banks would go to the competitor (Moody’s). His reactions to uncovering this systemic industry fraud was brilliant.
The character you’re referring to at the end, Christian Bale’s character (I can’t remember the character names, but I plan to see this movie again), only slowly realized that fraud was going on. He never really left his office (apparently) but only figured things out from the math and the behavior of the financial products, but his discouragement and disgust was also very well portrayed. All of the main characters went into the “venture” happily participating in what they thought was getting one up on each other, and ended the movie in disgust and disillusionment. All but one, if I remember correctly, left the industry after that because of what they’d learned about it.
This was one of the few problems I had with what was otherwise an excellent movie. I couldn’t quite buy into the empathy and angst of the poor devils who invested heavily on a bet that the market would collapse and then made many millions of dollars off their deals.
The movie also felt a bit preachy right at the end.
I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but if they didn’t do any shady dealings themselves, there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong morally or ethically with profiting hugely by betting on the collapse of what you suspect to be a house of cards.
It’s still just a bet, you are putting your money where your mouth is, and even if your betting assumption is correct, you can easily get blown out of your trade before it comes to fruition.
It’s completely different than say, someone who has a reputation as a short-seller, finds a stock that has a low float (low number of shares outstanding, which means it’s easier to manipulate), takes a short position and then tweets out some specious theory that causes panic selling.
I just saw the movie yesterday, and really liked it. It was a mostly full theater, although I was the youngest in there by about 20 years, I thought that was a little strange.
All the actors were good, Ryan Gosling being my favorite, especially when he was dealing with his assistant. I agree with everyone else that it was a good summary of events, and the cameo gimmicks were a fun way to break things down. Adam McKay also directed The Other Guys, where the villain was a financial guy who was running a ponzi scheme, and the end credits were a animated summary of ways the economy is messed up. McKay did a really good job directing, since this could have been a much drier subject, but as a comedy director he was able to keep comedy in it and keep it going.
I was wondering about that, if there were other people who saw it coming but then second guessed themselves and got out too soon. But it was based on a book that was based on real people, and I’m guessing the book didn’t have any people like that. And I don’t know if there are any people who were like that who the screenwriters could have added. And I wouldn’t want them to invent any made up characters who second guessed and got out just to make the other main people look smart.
I thought they did a good job of suspense. I don’t know much about the markets, but I do know that shorting something is super risky, because you make money if the thing goes down, but you lose money if it goes up, and so theoretically the amount of money you could lose is infinite if it keeps going up. As someone in 2015, I knew that the main characters were right, but I couldn’t remember exactly when everything came crashing down in 2007, so I wasn’t sure if all of these characters made money or lost all their money before the market crashed and they could cash out.
The S&P lady wasn’t blind, she said something about “I just have to take an appointment with my eye doctor whenever they’ll have me, and then the rest of the morning is shot.” So she had an eye appointment and had her eyes dilated, then was wearing the dark glasses because of that.
I was a bit unclear on what happened with Christian Bale’s character. He froze withdrawals so investors couldn’t take money out, and then was getting sued, but he still made the 489% profit. But the place seemed to be shutting down at the end, and his assistant was working at a gas station stocking drinks in the fridge, and he sent out an email saying something about shutting down the fund. So was he just getting out because he was disgusted by the markets? At first I thought he had somehow lost all the money, because the panicked investors didn’t trust him and they all got out too soon, but that didn’t seem to be the case. And then the end credits said that now he invests only in water, so he is doing investing, though maybe that’s just on his own.
Saw it again today and loved it even more the second time. The first time I also thought bales character (burry) closed up shop because he waited too late and lost his shirt. But today I saw got the timing of everything: he got nervous when the mortgages started failing but the ratings stayed high, so he sent an email telling his investors they couldn’t bail out on him. He held on until the banks started failing then he cashed out and sent the profits to his investors. (Like the email saying he transferred 400- something million into your account, your welcome). He also got a profit but was so disgusted with the irrationality the whole thing that he closed up shop. Basically he took he money and ran.
Other little things that I loved about the movie were:
The montages showing current events at the time this was happening. That colorfully set the stage for all of this and is going to make the movie a fair historical account of this events, or rather what I mean is that people watching the movie ten years from now will better understand the social-economic impact of this garbage. The montages also pull a lot of pop culture interest into what is a dry subject.
Also the soundtrack was brilliant and context appropriate. “Shake your money maker” at the beginning, dead silence in a few tense moments, and “when the levy breaks” as the end credits roll.
And I agree, it was well cast. I really love how they nail all the banks, showing logos and names and not being at all coy about name and shame.
I seem to remember it was like an east Asian name, but don’t remember what it was. No one that I’ve ever heard of before.
The quote I liked better was “Truth is like poetry… and nobody fucking likes poetry. - overheard in a bar in Washington D.C.” That got laughs here in northern Virginia where we’re close to the DC bullcrap.
They also used the technique of breaking the 4th wall often and very well. The timing of the narrator explaining Vinnie’s past and ending with saying that he doesn’t talk about it, and him immediately looking into the camera and saying “I don’t talk about that.” was funny and perfect. I loved that character but can’t explain why. I suspect it’s just that it was perfectly cast and well acted.