Endless columns of numbers. Loans, instalments, repayments days. Something that ordinary people would never understand. Do you remember old Hamlet’s saying: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’?. Let’s paraphrase – there are more things in banks than are dreamt in your life-budget. Who’s Horatio here? It’s anyone that (probably by a really bad accident) started to feel comfortable about mortgage.
‘The Big Short’ it’s a quasi-documentary movie about the U.S mortgage housing crisis. Adam McKay tells the three parallel stories of half-lucky and half-smart guys that, through speculation, embezzlement, and balancing on the edge of the law, have led the unconscious world to the gigantic economic collapse. What’s important – he didn’t make a political movie. ‘The Big Short’ it’s neither a praise of socialism nor apologia for capitalism. It’s a movie that unmasks an old, and having little to do with humanistic values, system – one man’s loss is another man’s gain. McKay is repeating mechanisms of the American financing system – he makes us confused. We get a nice picture of some weirdoes that decided to rule the world. They are creepy, even mad, but it’s easy to like them. We all love strangers (as much as we are afraid of them), don’t we? But we are not able to understand them. The same with banks strategies. You can easily build yourself a house (even if you are as miserable as one of these girls dancing on the pipe in McKay’s movie) but you are not aware of dirty secrets that are hidden between your dream. Greed is good – this sentence will never die. McKay seems to build a movie around this immortal ‘truth’.
You could say that ‘The Big Short’ is a movie for a very specific audience. For those who are familiar with all these sophisticated, and advanced economic rules. It’s pretty easy to get lost in this thicket of information. You could also say that the director is making fun of those who are too candid or too gullible to see a deception in a well-presented agreement, which creates an illusion of safety. Pop-culture jokes would be a strong prove here. Anyway, McKay’s point seems to be different. He doesn’t want to hurt ordinary people. On the contrary – he tries to criticize a system that is unreadable for them. What’s more – he focus not only on putting the audience in the position of manipulated believers but he also refers to relative nature of goodness. ‘The Big Short’ is a story of an existential dilemma – if you know that there’s no way to safe innocent people from suffering, what do you do? You take care of yourself or you perform your solidarity that means literally nothing? McKay won’t give you an answer. He will show you one possibility. The definition of morality always appears and dies in your head.