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The Big Short

7.82 h 10 min2015X-Ray15
When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything.
Adam McKay
Brad PittSteve CarellChristian Bale
English [CC]
Audio Languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.

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Supporting actors
Ryan GoslingAnthony BourdainMelissa LeoMarisa TomeiMargot RobbieSelena GomezKaren GillanRafe SpallFinn WittrockHamish LinklaterRudy EisenzopfAdepero OduyeJeremy StrongJeffry GriffinJohn MagaroJay JablonskiByron Mann
Brad PittDede GardnerJeremy KleinerArnon Milchan
Content advisory
Alcohol usenuditysexual contentsmoking
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Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.6 out of 5 stars

5482 global ratings

  1. 77% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

BensontheboxerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 July 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Glued to the set
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Deliberated whether or not to view this film as we were both sleepy. Decided to 'just watch the first ten minutes to see what it was like....' and ended up glued to the set for the duration. By the end we were both so angry and righteously indignant at how ordinary, non-clever people could be so cruelly manipulated by the Alpha Few (and this was before Trump came along) neither of us could sleep anyway. Well worth it though. A number of reviews have criticised the camera work; what was wrong with it? 'seemed fine to me. The acting from everyone was sublime, the level of 'slime' and pinguidity just right and the explanatory bits for those of us not steeped in Wall Street jargon was a great twist.
One niggly criticism, as is so often the case with films these days, was the sound; Okay, if you were in a strip club or disco (I'm giving my age away now) it would be loud and drown out the conversation however, for a plot that relies entirely on the spoken word, further complicating the already highly complicated premise by whacking up the music so that you completely missed the salient point seems a bit daft otherwise full marks for an unexpectedly cracking film.
44 people found this helpful
Edgar R WagnerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 October 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Another film about the 2007-2008 financial crash
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I loved The Big Short with Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, as I also loved Margin Call starring Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, and Kevin Spacey. Two very different ways of dealing with the financial crash of 2007 - 2008. Two very good films.

Margin Call is looking at the crash from the perspective of a company that realises that it is holding too much by way of bundled up, collateralised, sub-prime mortgages, and sells them on just in time to avert its own total demise, although some employees do lose their jobs.

The Big Short is looking at the crash from the perspective of different people who all think that they are the only ones to see that mortgages granted to large numbers of people who are less than ideal mortgage borrowers is leading to house prices inevitably going up as a lot of money enters the housing market that should never have entered the housing market, and that this will inevitably lead to bust as many of those less than ideal borrowers default on their obligation to repay, and, here's the really important point, the equity in those heavily mortgaged properties is not enough to repay the lenders because those properties were too highly valued when the mortgages were taken out and when sold, if sold, would be sold for a value below the amount borrowed against that property, sometimes well below the amount actually borrowed.

Although what is explained in The Big Short, and not explained in Margin Call, is that what happened was that those sub-prime mortgages were collateralised, bundled up, and each bundle given an inaccurately high credit rating by Credit Rating Agencies that had a financial incentive in giving an inaccurately high credit rating, and then sold as being a good investment to people looking to get a good yield on their money.

Not only were these bundles of inaccurately highly rated sub-prime mortgages sold to private individuals, they were also sold to banks that then looked to be more wealthy, financially solid, than they actually were.

If I have understood it correctly, the company in Margin Call is holding a lot of these bundles containing a lot of sub-prime mortgages, and simply sells those bundles just before those same bundles really collapse in value. In Margin Call the company does what Lehman Brothers should have done if its staff had been bright enough.

The Big Short is quite different in that the protagonists specifically bet that these bundles will indeed collapse in value. I, personally, never quite got to understand the precise procedure for placing these bets, and maybe the inability to keep it simple should cost the film a star. I think that they do their best to explain it, but I don't think that they quite pulled it off. Ditto really for Margin Call. Margin Call did not quite explain enough or not clearly enough, I thought, what the product was that the company had to off-load so precipitately.

The Big Short was excellent in its ending. People who should have known better did lend to housebuyers who they must have known were never likely to be able to repay their loans. Credit rating agencies gave bundles of these sub-prime mortgages a credit rating that they must have known was too high. Neither the reckless lenders nor the probably outright dishonest credit rating agencies were brought to book for the disaster they wrought.
21 people found this helpful
The Movie DioramaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 October 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
The Big Short triggers a crisis of its own by treating its audience like children.
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The Big Short triggers a crisis of its own by treating its audience like children. Ladies and gentlemen, I bestow upon you the most frustrating film to ever exist in our plane of reality. You ready for more controversy? I don’t like The Big Short. It is a purposefully unconventional exercise in butchering a perfectly solid film through self-obsessed patronisation. A felicitous topic that ages more flavorous than a cheap bottle of Chambord with every passing year, yet presented in the most condescending manner available. Honestly, I’m feeling my veins on my forehead right now. Adam McKay, man. Not impressed. Depicting the financial crisis of ‘08, three concurrent narratives demonstrate the fraudulent behaviour of banking corporations and mortgage brokers that forced the inception of the “housing bubble”.

But don’t let me bore you with this drivel, here’s grime legend Skepta to offer an explanation. Forget about that though. The real issue here is the packaging of subprime loans into collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) which are being rated at AAA level, guaranteeing the eventual collapse of Wall Street. Mean nothing to you? Don’t worry, here’s adult entertainer Farah Abraham to illustrate these technical terms as she’s getting ploughed by a man twice her age. How about the frightening issue of the Securities and Exchange Commission upholding no regulations for monitoring mortgage-backed security activity. Scary, but went straight over your head right? Say no more, here’s a frolicking emu to peck at the topic.

Do you see the problem here? The financial crisis, and what banks are still selling today, is terrifying. Absolutely petrifying. Witnessing unemployment rates rocket whilst homes, families and actual lives are lost, disintegrating into an ever-increasing total fuelled by greed and sickening motives. It’s obscene. The system is broken, and the events that preceded the tipping point are the most important years of modern history. No exaggeration. I cannot begin to overstate how deftly consequential, and omnipotent, the financial industry is. However my problem, my absolute colossal issue, is that you rarely witness the horror in The Big Short. Rarely do you experience the abhorrent fraudulent cynicism of capitalism. Why? Well, because some tool named Adam McKay would rather subject the viewers to unconventional comedy in order to make light of the impending doom.

No. I’m sorry, but no. Breaking the fourth wall to explain financial concepts in the most patronising lines of dialogue possible is literal butchery. Acquiring celebrity cameos to lavishly detail, and derail, terms by utilising analogies that a primary school teacher would fully lay out to the class is insulting. Etching diagrams onto the screen, in this case a testicle because apparently we have no idea what one looks like, to evoke a needless sense of comedy is futile. These are just deterrent distractions. Obstructing the harrowing events at the centre of McKay’s charades.

The worst part, is that he actually does utilise the characters to explain financial jargon to each other. The Jenga construction of bond credit ratings, for example. Vennett describes the eventual collapse perfectly to the FrontPoint partners. Character to character. But of course, McKay treats us like babies and has Gosling break character only to stare into the camera and narrate our, no sorry, his thoughts and further clarify terms in case they weren’t simple enough. This is even without mentioning Corwin’s frenetic editing that never lets the situational horror simmer. Just constantly keeps ticking over every important emotional detail, retaining a distance from these characters. I yearn to feel Michael Burry’s anguish and pressure. I wish to become enveloped in Mark Baum’s disgust with American bureaucracy. The rare occasion, mostly Ben Rickert outlining the effects of the impending collapse and how innocent civilians will perish, upholds the true terror of the crisis. But it’s not enough to truly denote its greater impact on America.

McKay focussed too much on the excessive meta-references, naturally considering his terrible filmography of comedies, that he diverted from the heart of the “Doomsday machine”. Glossy for the sake of being unconventional. It doesn’t sit right with me. At all. What’s more infuriating, is that the performances were all excellent. Bale, Carell, Gosling and even Pitt. Yet they were diluted by a purposefully satirical tone that danced around the crisis. Unforgivable. I understand why McKay took this approach. I acknowledge how many viewers can get onboard with the comedy. I get it. I just don’t agree with McKay’s execution in the slightest. And it’s only because I’m so passionate about the subject, that The Big Short really did fall short.
11 people found this helpful
Bingle FlarpReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 February 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Don't let other reviews fool you...
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This here, is a masterpiece of a movie. Contrary to what another reviewer has said, I think this film does not treat the audience as children. Not everyone knows what tranches, and CDO's are. As the film (that's based on real life facts and stories) claims, not even the people who invested and created derivatives on the tranches knew what CDO's were.

Anyways, back to the film. It is an understandably dramatic movie, which some scenes hit me quite hard emotionally. It's got the right amount of laughs too which I found surprising for such a serious movie. Having other people and actors narrate the movie, breaking the fourth wall to teach the audience is something I found amazing and a very nice touch.

Overall, I absolutely recommend this movie. It's contemporary and you can see some parallels with the current economy in certain areas. If you get it for free with prime (which happens every once in a while) I absolutely recommend you watch it. I would not mind paying for it even though I've watched it multiple times, but if I can get it for "free" included with Prime, that's a plus!
4 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 August 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
"I am standing in front of a burning house selling fire insurance"
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Investor "AAA's top of the line property like buildings & mansions. BB movie stars & celebrities & people with credit scores THEN there's flat rate B's bottom of trash can no credit checks no income status pure poop worst of the worst tenants to rent to & at least 30% are on welfare...". Client "But bankable all they want is home who cares??". Investor "Uh the banks cause over the years the fat greedy owners who own the stocks just like the bank don't care so long as the rents paid the market is at 4% if it reaches 8% & it will the economy caves in...". Client "So Mad Max apocalypse??". Investor "Financially... Look these stocks ALL the real estate stocks are rigged it's cat poop wrapped in dog poop, the investors & banks get insurance bail outs into the billions NY tactic is short (best against) the market so u in ?? Yes or no I need the answer today not next week best next week it's &%$#ing over". Client "Isn't that illegal??". Investor "No we buy up the stocks then flip em when it fails at primo prices... I am standing front of a burning house & offering to selling you fire insurance get it ?!"
One person found this helpful
R.TristramReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 November 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
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I really enjoyed the film in spite of being made depressed that this could happen then and perhaps will again. Most of the rich who benefited so much from everyone else's misery have just got richer. It had just the right amount of comedy rather than the over-the-top parody depicted by The Wolf of Wall Street, and showed the totally believable amount of arrogance, pomp and hubris of people who think their brilliance is evidenced by their wealth.

The simple explanations like the one of mortgage bonds by a girl drinking champagne in a bubble bath were a brilliant idea as was the breaking of the fourth wall to admit that a particular scene was spiced up, but that the result was the same. Hence, when they said that the dramatic scene at the conference with the Bear Stearns CEO was exactly as it happened, you could believe it. However, I was pleased to find out that the impunity described at the end of the film is not quite correct - according to the FT, hundreds have been prosecuted - just not necessarily the ones the public wanted to see.
11 people found this helpful
WildfireReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 June 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Could it combine "gripping" with education?
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How much the 2008 financial crash grips the viewer I suppose depends on their situation at the time. To the financial world it was a disaster. To others it probably varied from nothing to a semi-disaster that robbed people of interest earnings on their savings! But this film is partly educational. It makes a pretty good drama leading up to that crash while explaining what the various financial instruments and credit ratings meant; how they were thrown into chaos by agencies who should have known better. It illustrates well what a casino financial speculation really is; how people can get rich pretty quickly and then thrown to the wall just as fast. So if you're interested what a CDO is and what Standard and Poors does, Bale and his team bring it off brilliantly!
rob wReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 February 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Great Film About really it's good
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This is a film about the banking crisis of 2007 and the maverick investors who saw it coming. Christian Bale plays the investor with a glass eye who first saw the trend and bets big against the market [ that is the Short referred to in the title] , Steve Carrel plays the head of an investment group who get wind of the problems in the market through sheer dumb luck! Ryan Gosling is a banker who is willing to move against the banks. It is an astonishing story of greed on an epic scale for which ordinary people paid the price.
The performances are all great with Brad Pitt playing the role of a disillusioned investment banker helping two young investors to enter the market. What sets this film apart is its style it uses a sort of montage approach meaning that it edits together images to tell the story such as pop videos and still photographs also the actors, mainly Ryan Goslings character break the third wall in other words they talk direct to camera. The director is aware that banking is a very complicated subject so to explain there are inserts by people playing themselves such as Selena Gomez and my favourite Margot Robbie explaining the concept of shorting from a bubble bath!!! the style of the film gives it pace and keeps the viewer interested, it is a fascinating true story and deserved its Oscar nominations. But one caveat if you are offended by bad language there is an awful lot of it in this film, but overall it is well worth watching repeatedly if only to understand the fraud of the banks.
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