‘The Big Short’: Telling the Story of America’s Collapse

Most Americans know the story of the financial collapse of the late ’00s. As millions of Americans defaulted on bad loans issued by various banks, the housing market went into free-fall, leading to the biggest economic recession our country’s seen since the Great Depression. Behind the scenes of all this though, there was a complete other side that saw Wall Street investors pit directly against the banks that tenuously hold America’s economy afloat. Moneyball author Michael Lewis saw fit to tell this story with his 2010 tell-all book, The Big Short. Now, it’s set to become the latest Oscar contender this December.

Even without dramatizing the story for Hollywood, The Big Short is unequivocally fascinating. It paints a picture of small group of analysts and hedge fund managers who tried to tell people that the housing market was about to burst wide open. After being widely disregarded, these people took to betting against the banks, and in the end made millions of dollars while the economy collapsed around us. It all makes for an intriguing look at a side of the recession very few of us know anything about, put in the hands of a talented created team.

Adam McKay is set to direct The Big Short, starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell. With an A-list cast on board, audiences will be exposed to the true story behind the housing crisis. It’s a situation that’s difficult to explain to the layman without venturing in the weeds of Wall Street jargon, made entirely simple Michael Lewis’s source material, and soon a digestible movie. Much of this tale seems unbelievable when broken down into its core elements, serving to highlight the insane levels of greed and corruption that toppled the global economy in one fell swoop.

As banks continue to repeat the same mistakes that got them in trouble in the first place, The Big Short will be more important than ever. Many of us have forgotten just how bad things were on Wall Street at the time of the crash, and even more likely don’t even know why or how it happened. Led by a solid director and stellar cast, we’ll get the whole story laid out for us in easy-to-understand terms. The Occupy Wall Street movement has long since faded into the background, public outrage has subsided, and now the people entrusted with keeping our economy alive are free to go back to business as usual.

The simple truth of the matter is that this movie isn’t simply Oscar fodder. Rather, it’s a necessary look in the mirror for how our economy was allowed to run wild. Some may paint the people betting against the banks as villains who profited off our own misfortune. In reality, though, they took advantage of a system that refused to believe it was broken until the walls came tumbling down. Now the mistakes of our past will be repackaged for all to see, as we strive to avoid repeating history.

The Big Short will hit theaters in December, a month that already could be Hollywood’s biggest ever. Already, The Force Awakens, Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, Will Smith’s Concussion, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant. This though will carry with it a weight that its competition lacks, pulling away the curtain that Wall Street would have us keep in place.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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