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The Big Short (2015), dir. Adam McKay



It absolutely does hold its audience's hand throughout the entire thing, like an overprotective father, and spoon-feeds us information like mothers performing the old airplane trick with their newborn infants -- but that's just part of the social commentary.

I love the borderline-self-parody aspect, for lack of a better word (always undercutting the seriousness of the situation with surrealist comedy until the third act strikes like a gavel and leaves you breathless), and the sendup of contemporary media techniques, e.g. the "cameos" relative to the way the masses consume their information.


But if you consider yourself an intelligent person and someone who, regardless of intentions, doesn’t need to be treated like a child (even for the sake of satire), then I can see and understand being put off by this film. I, however, always sensed an underlying spark of respect and hope for its audience, as if McKay and his co-writers were saying, "yeah, I know I'm being kind of a condescending asshole right now, but I'm just trying to help you understand these still-very-relevant issues, and if patronizing you is the easiest way to get, and hold, your attention (which it is), then i’m all for it. And It's the sad truth, and you know that as well as I do."


It's a fascinating film to watch and re-watch and because of it's rapid pacing and absurdist editing; I was never uncomfortable with its overt smugness because the original source material utilized that same sort of smugness to get its point across in a way that would anger and frustrate readers -- and I think McKay translated that aspect of the book’s tone and voice from literature to screenplay extraordinarily. All in all, this is my favorite of the 2016 Academy Award nominees (the only one that I've awarded with a perfect rating), and while I know it won't walk away with Best Picture, I am glad to see all the recognition it ended up getting. I only wish Carell would have been nominated in the Lead Actor category; he really did deserve it.


9/10



© 2017 by ELI HAYES.

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