Michael Burry is an awkward, eccentric and sometimes incomprehensible man, which is the founder and CEO of Scion Capital LLC, a financial company. Burry has a glass eye and Asperger syndrome, which makes him an individual with very limited personal skills and poor social interaction. Nonetheless, he is a mathematical genius, brilliant with numbers, having made a solid reputation for himself in the financial business. After a brief analysis of the passive and active revenues of some real state reports, he notices financial discrepancies, that makes obvious to him that an impeding shortage very soon will take the real estate market by storm, and consequently, the financial system will inevitably collapse. He rapidly realizes how he can profit from that, creating credit counterpart funds against the frail banking system, which is blind and obtuse, never prepared with contingency plans.
Meanwhile, Mark Baum (Steve Carell), from FrontPoint Capital (in real life, Steve Eisman, from FrontPoint Partners) meet the ambitious and ludicrous Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling, based on Greg Lippmann), an astounding genius that works for the Deutsche Bank, that also come up with a plan to profit from the remarkable fails that soon will take over the entire financial system. He is also the narrator of the events told in the movie. Upon hearing the inconspicuous rumors about the inevitable collapse disseminated by Burry, and astonishingly realizing that he is probably right, Vennett form a solid, but backsliding partnership with Baum, to incisively deal, and profit as much as possible, with the impeding financial ruin that will take the United States by storm. Doing some field research, upon discovering a series of frauds, ghostly transactions, and horrendously abnormal discrepancies in the financial market that for some time prompted the system to seem stable, Mark Baum becomes severely distraught when he discovers how giant it is the blank space in the financial system that very soon will destabilize the entire American economy. Visualizing how big the crisis could be, he becomes a very desperate man, severely shaken by the weaknesses of the system on which the entire capitalist economy is built.
Eventually the crisis happens, exactly as Burry had predicted. All of them, with their well-designed schemes and plans elaborated to profit from the fails in the structure of the financial system earn enormous amounts of money from the situation. Nonetheless, neither of these men becomes happy, and the impending doom that finally takes the United States by storm eventually brings disgrace to millions of people, that lose their homes and their jobs, scattering all over the country a sense similar to the stock market collapse of 1929, with all of these men realizing how frail and fallible the financial system really is. Some of them, like Burry and Rickert, leave the financial business for good. Being responsible for the crisis a great deal of fraudulent schemes and investments, nobody but one person is arrested for the ghostly financial wall created by those fake banking transaction arrangements, and after some years, the very same scenario begins to take place, although arranged by other people, and with other names for the same schemes, raising the possibility that very soon, another potential crisis can strike the entire economic system, as no financial platform is 100% secure.
Besides being a very systematic movie, you can understand very well the treacherous elements of the financial market that inherently generated the 2008 crisis, and the situation responsible for that. Changing from storyline to storyline, The Big Short presents an interesting and very interchangeable chain of events, built by a fragmented plot linked by a common concept, that presents the different perspectives of all the men that already knew that a nationwide financial ruin was in development, and that subsequently the banking system would inevitably collapse. Like a giant avalanche that could not be stopped or detained, all of these men, each one on their own terms, prepared themselves to respond to the financial and social consequences of the monumental event. Most of them, unfortunately, were seeking only their own personal gains in the process.
The movie also greatly interprets moral, ethical and genius evaluation of personalities, since each one of these characters have their own personal merits and qualifications to stand in the places they are. Nonetheless, they hardly think for the benefits of others, and are almost all the time working only to sustain what they already have, and to build a more solid base beyond that, setting up their personal and professional grounds of activity only to gain upon the losses of others.
Finally, The Big Short is a terrific movie. Dynamic, easy paced, fast, interesting and enthusiastic, besides the brilliant choice of actors, the plot and storyline are driven in an excellent and very ambitious manner. Showing honestly the controversial side of the financial market, and the rotten side of the American economy – and how it impacts in our daily lives, even if you live outside the United States – The Big Short is an astonishing movie, that shows the raw, savage and horrendous side of the financial system, with all of its ups and downs, with all of its downward spirals, and chaotic hordes of frightening hangmen always ready to do everything in their power for easy money. Although you can get a little tired being in offices and conferences all the time throughout the movie, The Big Short is a fantastic film made to make history. Certainly deserves a four stars rate, undoubtedly.