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Review: The Big Short

Published 1.20.2017
The Big Short is a 2015 film that I watched on Netflix over the holiday break. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to understand a bit more about the financial crisis that began at the end of the Bush years and continued through the first couple years of the Obama administration. Partisan politics is not a focus of the film in anyway.

I knew the general outline of the movie, both because I lived through the 2008-2009 housing crisis, and in the belly of it for the beginning because we owned a house in South Florida. I’d also seen numerous interviews with the author of the book of the same name, though I have not read the book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Naturally, the film is set up as a narrative, that weaves fictionalized aspects with the facts and actual TV footage from that time. I knew the general outline of the story so I don’t think it had the effect on me that it did on others of my friends who’ve seen it. Many of them were furious after watching it.

The movie tried to distill some very complicated concepts into entertaining content, mostly successfully, but again I’d been reading about and trying to understand what as going on as it happened, so it could be that I began with a basic understanding of the concepts.

In order to cut in bits solely aimed at explaining a concept the film is basically a flashback of one of the players involved. No one in the saga is innocent, not even the characters established as the “good guys.” They profited off people’s misery as well.

I also enjoyed the movie “Money Ball,” which was based on a Michael Lewis book of the same name. I haven’t read that book either, but the movie was enjoyable. Hmm. I like the movies based on his books, maybe I should try picking up one of Michael Lewis’s books and read the source material. If I do read The Big Short, I'll rewrite the review with commentary both about the book and how it differed from the movie.

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