Intricate story-telling, with great portrayals and clear definitions.
Focused around the truth of the 2008 financial crisis, this film follows three separate groups who decide to bet against the banks. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) discovers that the housing market is going to burst; as banks don’t filter mortgage ratings, and keep selling them. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) hears this through the grapevine, and tries to enlist Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and his team consisting of, Vinny (Jeremy Strong), Porter (Hamish Linklater), and Danny (Rafe Spall) to back him up. Also wanting to get into the world of banking, Charlie (John Magaro) and Jamie (Finn Wittrock) discover Burry’s theory, and under the mentorship of Ben (Brad Pitt), they too, bet against the banks. Directed by Adam McKay.
While the subject matter may be a bit dense and unappealing to most, this film does a magnificent job in dumbing it down for us regular folks. One of the unique ways in which they do this, is by bringing in well known stars (not only those in the film industry), to explain or demonstrate technical words and theories. Stars such as Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, and Margot Robbie.
Following the theme of breaking the diagesis of the story, and bringing in people unrelated to the narrative, the film breaks the fourth wall multiple times. Normally, this is unnerving and unwanted (as seen in Experimenter (2015)). However, it was done so effortlessly, and with so much charm, that it succeeds in this movie. This may be a trend in documentaries, unless it is a tendency that has been around for awhile now, which I am just discovering. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013),also breaks the fourth wall smoothly, and perhaps it is the best – or only, way to truly explain real world applications.
As for the portrayals, Gosling and Carell play similar characters they have done before (with a bit more exaggeration), but are nonetheless engaging. The two most surprising performances for me, came from superstars, Bale and Pitt. They looked completely different, and encompassed their characters wholeheartedly. Perhaps it is because that they are seasoned actors, which is why they are able to come off so completely as their characters.
The screenplay, soundtrack and cinematography makes this a very stylish biopic. Though not as ostentatious a story as The Wolf, this brings us behind the scenes before the market crash, and depicts how fraudulent the system actually was – that it went on a further 2 years than it should have.
Amazing storytelling and film-making, which manages to absorb the audience while still using financing jargon. The subtle comedy is injected parallel to the serious and dramatic undertone, creating a blend which will captivate viewers.
PROS: Great representation, storytelling, film-making
CONS: Don’t have any
I give this a 9/10.
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