The Big Short

Critics Consensus

The Big Short approaches a serious, complicated subject with an impressive attention to detail -- and manages to deliver a well-acted, scathingly funny indictment of its real-life villains in the bargain.

88%

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Total Count: 321

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 69,066

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Movie Info

In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry realizes that a number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting. Burry bets against the housing market by throwing more than $1 billion of his investors' money into credit default swaps. His actions attract the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and other greedy opportunists. Together, these men make a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse in America.

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Critic Reviews for The Big Short

All Critics (321) | Top Critics (56) | Fresh (283) | Rotten (38)

  • Confronting these facts while snorting at how funny this film often can be is quite confounding.

    January 23, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • McKay hasn't lost his touch as a director of comic performances, and the didactic format lets him shake off a lot of sodden Hollywood convention: the characters aren't required to learn spiritual lessons or even be particularly likeable.

    January 22, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Adam McKay's raucous comedy... manages the unlikely feat of being wildly entertaining while telling a complex and ultimately depressing story.

    January 22, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • I came to The Big Short in a state of anticipation, only to be baffled at how smug, laborious and self-important it is, trying to combine Gordon Gekko sexiness with anti-banker correctness ...

    January 21, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A big, clever chortle, full of sardonic insights into a time of woe.

    January 21, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Lots of pleasant bluster, but spreads itself a little too thin.

    January 19, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Big Short

  • Jan 29, 2017
    This is by far the most entertaining movie I never understood. There is massive amount of banking and stock exchange terminology here, but the characters, writing and direction make this such a fast and fun experience that you don't even mind. The cast is fantastic, the editing outstanding, only the shaky and sometimes out of focus camera may put off some viewers. Don't let the massively complex topic scare you off, yes the movie requires some concentration, but it is very rewarding, even though you will be immensely pissed during the end credits.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2016
    These guys didn't just see the recession coming they chose to profit from it. This is punk rock economics but it's not without a conscience.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2016
    This movie is very much like Inside Job, perhaps a slightly worse example of that, in that it takes a very complex subject and tries to make it so that even the least knowledgeable person about this subject can at least get some sort of understanding as to what happened and how it happened. Though, if I'm being honest, I think this film will be slightly more difficult to follow if you're not paying attention than Inside Job. And I realize the movie had to be this way in order to maintain as close to the real-life events as possible. And there are times that the film takes liberties with the truth, but in those cases, the character breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges that that certain event didn't happen that way. The film has some clever moments like that. It's not necessarily winking, insufferable breaking of the fourth wall, it's certainly more informative. Though I am certain that there's moments where the film did take liberties and they didn't point it out. But, really, my biggest problem with the film, for the most part, is the fact that there's a lot of tech-talk. Or banker talk, whatever the term is, without really so much in the way of character development. The characters bet against the housing market and they just keep talking and finding out several layers that does reveal more intricacies of the fraud that's going on here, but it definitely does take a long-ass time to get there. And it's not like the movie is ever bad at any point, but it does take a lot of effort to stick with it during these moments where there's a lot of talk and exposition. The film is certainly funny, but it also, very heavily, condemns the people that played a part in the collapse of the American economy and, really, a collapse of the world economy. The film is never preachy, but it does highlight the unfairness at display here. The bankers and the fraud cause the collapse of the economy. But they never pay for their crimes. The people that end up cleaning up their mess are the taxpayers. Not to mention the millions of people that lost their homes and their jobs. Meanwhile the people that caused this collapse and got billions and billions of dollars to bail themselves out, use the taxpayer money to give themselves bonuses. So, while the film does make you laugh, it also does show you the very real consequences of what happened, in spite of the fact that a lot of the characters in the movie cashed in on the collapse themselves. The acting is really strong, no surprise there when you have people like Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carrell, among many others. Steve Carrell really does steal the show here and he's, realistically speaking, the only character who has any actual depth. It's not much, but at least it's something. By and large, though, I would say that this film is very good in spite of the flaws that it has going for it. I just don't think it does a great job at keeping you intrigued throughout its exposition, particularly in comparison to a documentary like Inside Job, that holds your attention from beginning to end. But I would still recommend this, it's a really damn good movie once it really gets going. It's on Netflix, so you know what to do.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 18, 2016
    Hedge fund managers conspire to get rich off of the impending 2008 financial crisis. One of the funniest movies of the year just made me mad - as I suspect was its intention. Exposing the inequities in our financial system and the political machine that supports it, The Big Short fully explains CDOs and other derivatives for the common viewer without talking down to them. While at times the film is heavy-handed (the metonym for the regulatory commissions having heavy sunglasses [she's blind, get it?]) and the film's treatment of women is a little archaic (most of the female characters are "helpers"), when this film is on, it's energetic, insightful, and incredibly well-acted. Overall, if you had trouble understanding what happened in 2008 or on the stock market, try having Margot Robbie explain it to you from a bathtub.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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