January 22, 2016

Cheats and prophets

The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015). How can we make this stuff interesting and clear? Any ideas? Adam McKay and Charles Rudolph try everything they can in adapting Michael Lewis’ account of the 2008 banking meltdown. Anthony Bourdain chopping fish in a kitchen gets it; Margot Robbie in a bubble bath gets it; Selena Gomez at a casino table gets it. Why make a documentary when you can make a doco-like comedy? How many different, inventive ways can we find for some of Hollywood’s better movie actors – Christian Bale as an Asperger’s-tinged prophet, Ryan Gosling as a smooth front man, Steve Carell as a furious cynic, Brad Pitt as a hyper-Redford; all outsiders and smarter than the system – to say “fuck you” to each other and everyone else? Bale is tremendous and it’s entertaining while it lasts but gimmicky too, and weirdly anticlimactic: financial Armageddon just sort of comes and goes.