The Big Short provides a sleek, witty look at the housing market crash of 2008 from an unexplored angle. It’s a stylish, somewhat bizarre yet also thoughtful movie that keeps what could have been a boring drama fun.

Some of the most popular words in the films screenplays are technical bank lingo such as: mortage backed security, sub-prime loans, collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s) and credit default swaps. These terms have little meaning to those who are unfamiliar with the world of banks, brokers and Wall Street and it’s conceivable that the consistent use of such phrases could alienate an audience. Luckily The Big Short doesn’t suffer from these problems. With a great cast, story and Margot Robbie drinking champagne in a bubble bath turns the film into a quirky ‘heist’ movie that has raises huge questions about corruption.

The film focuses of four different groups of ‘outsiders’ who profited from the collapse of the banks in 2008 by betting against the solid housing market; these people where the few who realized what was happening and what would happen and took advantage of it. Amongst these are the heavy metal listening genius Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale), the straight-talking irate Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) and a small part for the eco-friendly seed obsessed Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt).

All of the characters are fantastically entertaining and performed in such an absorbing way that you are sucked into the film (which at times is almost documentary-esque). The focus on each character’s quirks however fails to make them truly relatable and during the final act they become a little one dimensional – for example Brad Pitt has an emotional rant about how ‘millions will lose their homes over this’ feels extremely forced and out of place. The sub-plot of a personal tragedy in the past of Steve Carrell’s character feels similar off-tone and has no viable reason to be included.

The film though covers for these problems with its fast-pace and witty script; which gives each actor – including the non-A-listers such as Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong and John Magaro – their moment to shine. For a film with such a large ensemble cast it does a great job of spreading the story between them.

For all its humour the film also does a fantastic job of spreading its message about the big banks and the corruption within them. Towards the end of the film the focus shifts onto the scale of what the characters are doing and the moral ambiguity of such. Even though each of them becomes millionaires none of them are happy about it; their celebrations muted by a sombriety that makes the message clear.

As only the best films do, The Big Short, makes the audience feel happy yet also thoughtful at its conclusion and it takes a while to come to terms with exactly what happened and the impact on the economic crisis on us all.

9/10