During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
Three separate but parallel stories of the U.S mortgage housing crisis of 2005 are told. Michael Burry, an eccentric ex-physician turned one-eyed Scion Capital hedge fund manager, has traded traditional office attire for shorts, bare feet and a Supercuts haircut. He believes that the US housing market is built on a bubble that will burst within the next few years. Autonomy within the company allows Burry to do largely as he pleases, so Burry proceeds to bet against the housing market with the banks, who are more than happy to accept his proposal for something that has never happened in American history. The banks believe that Burry is a crackpot and therefore are confident in that they will win the deal. Jared Vennett with Deutschebank gets wind of what Burry is doing and, as an investor believes he too can cash in on Burry's beliefs. An errant telephone call to FrontPoint Partners gets this information into the hands of Mark Baum, an idealist who is fed up with the corruption in the ... Written by
The real Michael Burry made a cameo in the film as a Scion employee. At the beginning of the scene in which the fictional Burry's investors confront him at his office, he is briefly shown standing near the front door, talking on the phone. See more »
When Charlie and Jamie start their fund in a garage in Boulder, they use blue laptops with Microsoft logos. Those laptops didn't exist in 2007, and they still don't. They're solely for Microsoft product placement in TV and film. See more »
Our investment-strategy was simple. People hate to think about bad things happening so they always underestimate their likelihood.
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Comedy is tragedy + time, right? We're now over 7 years out from the
apex of the American financial crisis, which spiraled outward across
the world, and yet what has really changed? People are still making
millions/billions off the suffering of others, corporate control reigns
supreme, fraud is common and remains largely unknown, wealth continues
to be ever more concentrated in the grasp of a few, and the remainder
of the populace are treated as proverbial rats and made to feel uncouth
should they question the system and question not wanting to live their
lives playing this sadistic game. Taking 2 pennies and selling them to
someone for a hundred dollars remains a legal activity, just call those
pennies by a different name and suddenly it's okay to pass them off as
It doesn't sound funny at all, but The Big Short succeeds in turning
this demented and corrupt circus into something improbably hilarious
and probing. The power of comedy is its ability to let us see something
from a different viewpoint, allow us to process it in ways we wouldn't
have been able to otherwise. As we might laugh at children for the
hilariously unaware things they say and do, so too will humankind in
the future hopefully laugh at how completely pathetic and ignorant our
present society has been. Martin Scorsese opened the flap up into the
circus entrance with "The Wolf of Wall Street" and, while making good
points, was perhaps a bit too concerned with his own technique and had
a bit too much indulgence, reveling in the frivolity of it all. The Big
Short completely blows the top of the circus and dissects it in every
way, starting with the widespread fraud and greed in business, and then
examining how it has seeped into our entire existences. Even the good
guys here are ultimately out there to make money, lots of it. Isn't
that what society tells us we must to do, in order to be valuable? It's
McKay's approach here is "throw everything in, including the kitchen
sink" and that creates an energetic, brilliantly matched representation
of the subject matter. This does not mean he is lacking control,
however. The story being told includes so many facets and characters
that it easily could have fallen into disarray, but McKay makes every
single character memorable and illuminates every piece of jargon that
could be confusing from the outset. It's a huge accomplishment and a
far more important one than might seem apparent. The things that were
allowed to happen in the realms of business, finance, and banking are
absolutely INSANE and unbelievable. It has to be largely comedic
because there's no other way of delivering this vast amount of
information and complete failure of our entire society and make it all
snap into place so continuously, without being ripped apart by the
overwhelming darkness of it all. This isn't simply circumstantial and
theoretical and mysterious to a degree, as in Oliver Stone's "JFK", but
the cold hard truth.
It's not enough to even ask for the truth anymore and ask for answers,
we need to question the entire system, a whole web of poisonous bonds
that have tightly wound themselves so entirely around us. The work of
the film itself is allowing us to project our thoughts, our fears, our
anger, and our confusions into this convoluted conundrum. All while
being told the truth, so that we at least have a place to even start
down the correct path of understanding. It's acting as our own
investigative journey in a time when actual news and journalism has
become a tiny spec of its former self. We now have more information
than ever available to us, yet it's often so shrouded and twisted as to
become unrecognizable. There are still those who fear education for
what it would do to their own position in life, how it would challenge
their own reality. We are still held under the thumb of "greed is
good", "thinking you're inherently better is good", "vanity is good".
The shiny mainstream hallmarks of a typical Hollywoood commercial
product - the agreeable lighting and manicured actors and tidy
locations - are so perfectly representative in this film of the
emptiness within the characters and indeed in our entire society. After
all the progress we think we've made towards world peace and human
rights and medical advances and the stability of the human race, have
we lost sight of what a fulfilling life and a world of justice should
really be? Aren't we still captive to the same pointless rituals and
superficialities, doesn't a veritable monarch and royal court still
control most everything? We are now living our lives working for
something that can be wiped out with the stroke of a keyboard. We are
told something of monetary worth that is non-existent, for all intents
and purposes, is something we should strive for. Making a bet on the
outcome of another bet is a whole industry. The non-existent and
ridiculous and pointless directly hurts the lives of many.
The Big Short is one of the most important films of this era and one of
the best. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. It is an
illumination, a magical pairing of a director's sensibility to exactly
the correct form that most fully allows it to blossom and hold water.
It is water which the film warns us will be the next basic human
necessity to be denied by those few who hold power.
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