130 Minutes. Starring: Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei & Melissa Leo. Director: Adam McKay.
Blindsided by the banks during the bubbling credit of the financial crisis on the housing market between 2007 and 2008 that led to ravaging recessions and 'what about us' bailouts, millions and millions of decent, everyday hardworking people lost their jobs, homes...and what worse, livliehoods. Criminal! Now like in his sporting work ('The Blind Side' and more), maverick author of acclaim Michael Lewis is giving us all the 'Moneyball' numbers and statistical stories with his latest legacy making, brilliant book, that 'Anchorman', 'Talladega Nights' and 'The Other Guys' director and 'Ant-Man' superhero saver, funnyman Adam McKay is turning into his most serious movie yet. Seriously funny. Seriously satirical. Seriously slick. And oh so seriously good. 'The Big Short'. No not some Will Ferrell comedy about his penis, but something much more serious than that. Seriously funny. Seriously satir...wait we did that already! It's easy to get lost in the hard sell numbers and facts of this one, but that's why in the dead-on 'Deadpool' like fourth wall breaking, dynamic direction of this 'Best Picture' nom, the "science" or should we say maths bit is told to you by famous actresses who could be filming their own Loreal commercial. Is that Harley Quinn in the bath? Concentrate! This is 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' for the conscious Dylan crowd. 'Boiler Room' incinerating to the Gekko Greed of those bulls(hitters) on Wall Street who think 'Money Never Sleeps'! WAAAAAAKE UPPPPPPPP!!!!
Yeah I'm looking at you and so is Ryan Gosling. Yes that's right ladies...directly. Reaching out face to face in this house of falling cards and offering you an anger invoked and covered fearful induced warning...albeit out for his own cut too. You better check this guy....even if you dont know what to make of him. He's fake tanned and lizard suited to boot with that Just For Men with more money than sense perm that may leave you wondering what's that douche he's wearing. Belfort? "You smell that?" he asks referring to Benjamin...but it could be bull#### (credit to the guy two rows left that shouted that out in the cinema). Still what lies beneath all those pearly white veneers and marble floor salaries is a man who is on more than an even impassioned simmer, but looks like he's ready to boil at any point. Or topple like his outdated Jenga methaphor...but that's the point. Brick by brick the 'Drive' actor is giving us his finest work...JACKED! Even with a haircut that only God could forgive...yet still he makes work. And brick by brick he's giving Steve Carell advice and life lessons again like in 'Crazy, Stupid Love'. But this time it's not about love (although a magnificent Marisa Tomei (who he hooked up with on 'C.S.L.' is here, so something must have gone right with Gosling's 'Ides Of March' co-star) or training your fashion to not look like Steve Jobs. Suited and blonde bleached, Carell is almost in fat cat financial shape here. Yet you can bank on more of a character full performance here that is more depth than debt, for a comedy superstar that with the formidable 'Foxcatcher' sneering snare last year showed he had the trappings of real acting chops. And here he makes almost as much a transfixing transformation, just more subtely so. The signs of a great actor, here to stick around even if the banks didnt...no joke!
Knocking it out the park from the dugouts, even Michael Lewis' (lets just turn all his classic books into movies the same) 'Moneyball' big-hitter Brad Pitt is making trade swings, from casinos in the now second home of lost money Las Vegas to small pubs in Britain. That hilariously offers English locals the chance to give the Hollywood hearthrob, former sexiest man in the world and Mr. Jolie crap over a pint of Guiness. He hasn't received this much scorn since 'By The Sea'. But don't underrate that or this. Even in a small, supporting status of a role the star is still stellar and shining, with a hell of a lot to say. Look, listen even if one of the worlds most famous faces appears like the Geography greying beard one of a fleece comfortable teacher, he really is about to take you to school. Even if Brad is called Bill and affords more like an enviromentalist who recycles his own waste to soil and grow his own meals like a Matt Damon 'Martian' (and yes he kind of does), Pitt is still the s###! But if you want to look through the glass eye of a real Best Supporting Actor like the Academy than Oscar look no further than Christian Bale. Here's the methods of a maestro actor that once starved himself down to the skin of his ribcage for the bones of 'The Machinist', only to do it medically ill-advised, years later again for David O. Russell for the drugged out 'Fighter'. Only to plump and fatten up for the same directors 'American Hustle', all whilst muscling up to play the 'Dark Knights' of the best Batman all in between. But more than this brutal body and soul starved dedication is the measure of this mans actual acting taking place. Even here Christian's spirited performance goes beyond the call of duty, behind a desk and computer as he learns how to barefeet his way round a man who lives between the whiteboards of his office and the budget trimmings of Supercuts, whilst everything else millions money wise is being sliced and diced around him like falling salon hair. And Bale's haystacked talent also extends to him studying the heavy metal greats so he can learn how to slap the skins like a demon possessed with a rage that needs to be channeled raw riffing. Drumroll please! Batman may have finally beat Bane. Breaking 'The Revenant's' back to a gold statue win over Tom Hardy. But there's more to this epic ensemble than four of Hollywood's best leading horsemen in the Academy. There's so many more players here, from affable 'New Girl' characters made to look like cretins, classic cameos and new actors looking to make their own mainstay mark. Even another mid-February, Kodak Theatre lover is here as the marvellous Melissa Leo gives her two cents. And thats the point. The forlorn financial time effects everybody, Hollywood or not (but we're not talking about the mortgages on their mansions) and all the actors here show and share an all encompassing truth...we are all victims here. This big picture has no shortcomings when it comes to showing this literally or figuratively...no matter the on screen or look through the lens direction. They say money talks, but 'The Big Short' sings! Let the fat cats squeal! TIM DAVID HARVEY.