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The Big Short

A film based in fact about 4 different people who predicted the housing bubble collapse and who profited on the collapse through short selling collateralized debt obligations (which the film explains). The film is a lot of things: (a) it is great satire; (b) it plays in many places like a documentary, bouncing back and forth between the 4 key movers in this market; (c) it is really “hip” – the way it is shot, as well as the score, give the film a very contemporary edge; and (d) most importantly, it is a lay-friendly explanation of how the housing bubble collapse happened. The acting is superb; I think the award-level performances belong to Steve Carrell (my favorite) as Mark Baum, a guy who is driven to root out Wall Street corruption (for reasons the film explains) and Christian Bale as Dr. Michael Burry, an investor for Scion Capital who seems to have Asperger’s syndrome and who was able to figure out what was happening a few years before the bubble finally burst by looking at every mortgage in the various investment portfolios. There is also a very funny cameo by Selena Gomez that had me laughing but provides the very visual explanation for how the bubble burst. Big thumbs up from me for a movie that helps us common folk understand what exactly happened and showcases the unique personalities of these who went against the mainstream that continued to believe the bubble would not burst. (2015; 4.5 stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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