Film review: THE BIG SHORT

From Facebook, 2jan16:

Today’s movie: “The Big Short”, about as riveting and even emotional as you could possibly imagine a film about the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 could possibly be. It stars Steve Carell, Christian Bale (as an investor with Asperger’s and a funny haircut who plays drums and reads Terry Books in his office and defies everyone who doubts his predictions), Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pritt as the principals in three or four semi-connected stories about the impending collapse of the mortgage bond industry, and who buy “shorts”, in effect a kind of insurance that pays off if the mortgage industry — and possibly the entire economy — collapses.

The technical background is complex, and the director has some fun ‘explaining’ some of those ideas in scenes with celebrities like Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain using metaphors about bets on bets in Las Vegas (keying off the “gambler’s fallacy”), and Sunday night fish stew, speaking directly to the camera.

The plot thickens when the predicted sub-prime mortgages begin defaulting but the credit agencies don’t change their ratings of those bonds, and the big banks like Lehman Brothers proceed as usual, apparently confidant that the government would bail some of them out — which it did.

The principal players all make money off their “shorts”, though not without qualms about being part of the problem — making money off an economic collapse that puts millions out of work and out of their homes. Great film, worth seeing.’s_fallacy

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