‘The Big Short’ halts Hollywood’s struggle with finance

"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," "Margin Call," and most recently "The Wolf of Wall Street" are all movies that tried, and struggled, to explain the role that finance plays in our lives.

Still from The Big Short movie trailer.

Still from The Big Short movie trailer.

It seems though, that despite their huge efforts, the films could not clearly depict the essence of the matter, focusing on portraying the lifestyles of the so-called "villains" of the movie instead of explaining the finance involved.

In fact, and as cited in The Economist article, "Short and sweet," Hollywood has long faced difficulties when dealing with finance in movies, particularly when it comes to its complex, acronym-filled language. But it seems all these struggles have come to an end. In his new movie "The Big Short," director Adam McKay utilizes different techniques in an attempt to overcome this obstacle.

The movie chronicles the crash of the American housing market, which led to the 2008 financial crisis. It tells the story of outsiders who realized ahead of time that the American economy was heading towards a disaster. The movie features an A-list cast including Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Gosling.

Mckay, who is known for directing comedy movies such as "Talladega Nights" and "Step Brothers," opted for a new method with "The Big Short." Once he knew he had the chance to directly address his audience, it was a game changer.

When faced with purely complex financial terms, he used real life celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie to explain them to viewers. Gosling’s role was also pivotal to the movie whereby he guided the audience step by step through his narration in the film. In an interview at the premiere of the film, Gosling said that McKay was able to render the movie educational without seeming condescending.

McKay used aggressive cutting and sharp dialogues as well. Occasionally, a character might address the audience, simply to state that what they just saw never really happened. As quoted in The Economist, the director wanted the effect to be "unpredictable and visceral" and more of a "cinéma verité" style.

So, if you’re in the mood for a movie and a little bit of learning, "The Big Short" might be a suitable pick for that Friday night outing.