This film was a complete surprise to me because I really enjoyed it. This film has what Spotlight lacked. I am a big fan of Christian Bale films too, so this is another to add to the list.
This is a story of a few guys who have the foresight to realise that if you give mortgages and loans to anyone without making any checks you are going to be in trouble. It really wasn’t a hard concept to realise, but the American banks brainwashed everyone into thinking that nothing could go wrong. People who had no chance of getting a nice house now had a chance, whether they could afford it or not? They didn’t even have to give their correct names, their dogs name would suffice. It’s pretty scary stuff!
Christian Bale plays Michael Burry the head of a company who wants to invest his clients money into betting against the economy. From his research he knows there will be a collapse, but like the rest of America they think everything is safe. They want to get their money out of his hands as quickly as possible. Michael is not the easiest person to deal with as he is socially awkward and finds it difficult to relate to people. He cannot understand why people will not trust him.
Mark Baum played by Steve Carell worked for Morgan and Stanley with a small group managing investments. He is a character that wants things to be put right and is always campaigning against those that mistreat people. His group were contacted by a man called Jared Vennett who gave them the idea to bet against the economy. His sole aim was to make himself extremely rich. Jared is the narrator to the story and not particularly likeable. Although Mark comes across as annoying he does genuinely care about the people being screwed over by the banks. He too has issues, partially in relation to the suicide of his brother. He is definitely a man on the edge.
We then have two young guys who have made millions already and come across Jared Vennett’s proposal. They see the gap where they can make money and start working with a finance expert called Ben Rickert, played by Brad Pitt. The guys focus on how much money they will make from this venture and forget about the misery that it will cause so many. They realise the issue by the end and Ben Rickert who is also an environmentalist keeps them in line.
I love the direction of this film particularly as it feels like a documentary at times. I enjoyed the celebrity shots explaining the different elements of mortgages. I also enjoyed the narration from Ryan Goslings character throughout as it made you feel part of the film. I think like Wolf of Wall Street this has to be done in a light hearted way otherwise it would’ve been a seriously depressing film.
The acting is superb throughout! I had to check to see if Steve Carell was nominated for an Oscar and sadly he isn’t. In my opinion he is the best part of the film with a brilliant performance. Christian Bale is really good, as usual, but this is not an Oscar winning performance from him. I think it is safe to say that Leonardo DiCaprio has it in the bag. But I think Steve Carell would give Sly Stalone a run for his money for his performance here.
This is a must see film of this year. I really want to see it again. It’s great to be surprised.
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