Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Big Short (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“The Big Short” Is Long on Insight
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

So far I’ve lost five houses to banks. How are you doing? That house and credit bubble was a bitch wasn’t it?

That’s the subject of Michael Lewis’s book, “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.” The book was non-fiction, but it got the Hollywood treatment when it was turned into a film with the shorter title, “The Big Short.”

It’s winding up on a lot of Best Movie lists.

The book named names. However, the satirical film changes many of the names to protect the … innocent … or guilty? You decide.

Ryan Gosling plays Jared Bennett (based on Greg Lippmann, a Deutsch Bank trader). Brad Pitt is Ben Rickert (based on Ben Hockett). Steve Carell is Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman, a hedge fund manager). Marisa Tomei is Cynthia Baum (based on Valerie Feigen). John Magaro is Charlie Geller (based on Charlie Ledley). Ben Wittrock is Jamie Shipley (based on Jamie Mai). Stanley Wong is Ted Jiang (based on Eugene Xu, the analyst who created the first Collateralized Debt Obligation Market). And Christian Bale is called Michael Berry.

Among this menagerie are the key players who created the Default Swap Market that bet heavily against the CDO bubble. By betting against it, they actually profited from the financial crisis of 2007-2010.

 “The Big Short” is currently making audiences wince a bit at Tropic Cinema.

Adam McKay (a Saturday Night Live head writer and Will Ferrell’s filmmaking partner) directed this adaptation. Matter of fact, this is the first film he’s directed which doesn’t feature Ferrell.

Here, McKay shows he can stand on his own. “The Big Short” makes his previous directorial efforts -- “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Step Brothers,” “The Other Guys” -- look like Saturday morning cartoons.

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