Too Big to Fail

2011

Too Big to Fail

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 27

76%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,010

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

76%
Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

Oscar-winning director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential) adapts author Andrew Ross Sorkin's penetrating expose of the 2008 Wall Street financial crisis in this made-for-HBO docudrama featuring an all-star cast. As the U.S. economy hits the skids, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (William Hurt) finds himself caught up in a critical battle of wills between the key players on Wall Street, and the powers that be in Washington, D.C. With just weeks to go before the country plunges into the most devastating financial crash since the Great Depression, the powerbrokers on both sides scramble to pull the failing economy back from the brink of disaster. Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Cynthia Nixon, James Woods, Tony Shalhoub, and Topher Grace co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Cast

William Hurt
as Henry Paulson
Edward Asner
as Warren Buffett
Billy Crudup
as Timothy Geithner
Paul Giamatti
as Ben Bernanke
Topher Grace
as Jim Wilkinson
Matthew Modine
as John Thain
Cynthia Nixon
as Michele Davis
Michael O'Keefe
as Chris Flowers
Bill Pullman
as Jamie Dimon
Tony Shalhoub
as John Mack
James Woods
as Richard Fuld
Amy Carlson
as Erin Callan
Dan Hedaya
as Barney Frank
Kathy Baker
as Wendy Paulson
Ayad Akhtar
as Neel Kashkari
Beau Baxter
as Skip McGee
Erin Dilly
as Christal West
Jonathan Freeman
as Richard Shelby
Linda Glick
as Nancy Pelosi
Evan Handler
as Lloyd Blankfein
John Heard
as Joe Gregory
Peter Hermann
as Christopher Cox
Bud Jones
as Harry Reid
Chance Kelly
as Bart McDade
Laurence Lau
as Greg Fleming
Tom Mason
as Bob Willumstad
Ajay Mehta
as Vikram Pandit
Laila Robins
as Christine Lagarde
Victor Slezak
as Greg Curl
Joey Slotnick
as Dan Jester
Steve Tom
as Chris Dodd
Ben Livingston
as Investment Banker
James Saito
as Chinese Official
Erin Burnett
as Herself
Chil Kong
as Min Euoo Sung
Robert Hogan
as Rodgin Cohen
Chandra Thomas
as Assistant
David Faber
as Himself
Josh Casaubon
as Mid-Level Goldman Banker
Danny Darrow
as Mr. Akers
Rob Evans
as Sir Christopher
Rutanya Alda
as Admiral Evans
Peter Benson
as SEC Lawyer
Fiona Choi
as Second Reporter
Tom Tammi
as Jeffrey Immelt
Les J.N. Mau
as Gao Xiqing
Jill Dalton
as Mack's Assistant
Patricia Randell
as Chairman Sheila Bair
Casey Biggs
as Dick Kovacevich
Joe Kernen
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for Too Big to Fail

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (16)

  • Without taking an partisan position on what happened... Too Big To Fail simply and clearly explicates a chilling moment in recent history. And for that, it has value.

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The movie... captures the frustration of government officials as each hole they patched was followed by an even bigger leak.

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Just a dramatized synopsis in which some noble cynics guard our citadel. It is hardboiled-instead of admitting that the egg just exploded.

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • HBO's rendition of the Wall Street meltdown still manages to feel fresh, entertaining, and even educational. But does it get to the point?

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Too Big to Fail is a chronicle of recent events... But it fails to transform those events into anything valuable or special, beyond docudramatic re-creation. Ultimately, it's scope is too big, and it fails.

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The movie may do an adequate job of mining what's left of our collective outrage, but it comes up short as an artistic expression of post-recession catharsis.

    Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Too Big to Fail

It is 2008 and the stock price of Lehman Brothers is falling and CEO Richard Fuld(James Woods) is badly in need of cash and a sugar daddy. However, he rejects Warren Buffett's(Ed Asner) offer of $40 a share as an insult to his pride and his manhood. And then instantly regrets having done so because the stock price keeps falling, and a deal with a Korean consortium falls through. Just to add insult to bankruptcy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson(William Hurt) says there will be no government bailout this time, so Fuld had better work out something with all the other banks. "Too Big to Fail" is certainly a mixed bag. It gets off to a bad start, as it seems like we've walked into a movie that has already started.(Instead of the archival news footage during the credits, the movie should have instead gone with a Star Wars like scroll: "The empire's finances were beginning to crumble and Karl Marx was laughing in his grave.") And that's not to mention a pedestrian approach to the material and waiting until most of the way through before a discussion of the key issues. However, once it gets going, the movie takes on the form of a suspenseful political thriller at times. And it works having Paulson being the focal point of the movie as Hurt is very good in the role and it helps to have one center of attention with so many characters in play. On the other hand, Paulson, here does seem a little too good to be true, holding firm with sage advice from Ben Bernanke(Paul Giamatti, who almost steals the movie with only a bowl of oatmeal) and Timothy Geithner(Billy Crudup) and assistance from Paulson's Angels(Cynthia Nixon, Topher Grace, Ayad Akhtar & Joey Plotnick).

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

If someone wants to take a shortcut instead of reading the whole book, then this movie is a must watch.

Mohet Naidu
Mohet Naidu

Super Reviewer

½

Too Big to Fail is HBO's effort to dramatize the financial meltdown of 2008. It features an amazing cast, including James Woods, William Hurt, and Ed Asner. All bring a lot of presence to their scenes, even when the script doesn't fully let them shine. We get a lot of moments of tension and good dialogue exchanges, but we also get awkward moments that feel grossly manufactured so as to deliver exposition. In that sense, it's far from Margin Call, a film that brilliantly conveyed tension and steaks with similar themes. At the same time, it's not boring, executed with enough polish to keep it consistently engaging. The politics of the film and the editorializing are rather bland, however, with a far too forgiving portrayal of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, when the true origins of the crisis and ongoing turmoil are far more sinister and planned than what the film showed. But HBO was trying to keep it mainstream, so judged on that standard, it was successful, though not "accurate" in the truest sense of the word. 3.5/5 Stars Note: An excellent breakdown of the crisis can be found in the award-winning documentary, Inside Job.

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

½

"You want "too big to fail" here it is! You got a better idea -the suggestion box is wide open!" Chronicles the financial meltdown of 2008 and centers on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

REVIEW
"Too Big to Fail" addresses the subject of modern-day mega corporations whose failure, however deserving, might be of such catastrophic dimensions that it must be avoided, if at all possible, whatever the cost. The subject matter, the US financial crisis of 2008, is profound and enormous, in terms of its shock at the time and continuing consequences, to trivialize. The main characters - William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, for instance - become aware of the distinct possibility of spiraling into a 21st century version of The Great Depression. We are awestruck by such a possibility. The plot forces at work are both economic and political, both having profound influences. Politics? As usual, it is the Art of the Possible. Economics? A very difficult-to-comprehend arena, neither art nor science. The story leads us, step by step, as numerous characters play their role on this stage. The message: How could they have been so stupid? The filmmakers have hit the nail on the head.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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