Shows how sys­temic farce caused US job losses

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By REUTERS in Los An­ge­les

It is not easy to find the hu­mor in the fi­nan­cial cri­sis that hit theUS econ­omy eight years ago, but The Big Short uses com­edy as a lens to ex­am­ine the in­tri­ca­cies and fail­ures ofWall Street.

The movie, star­ring Chris­tian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell and out in New York and Los An­ge­les on Fri­day, takes a quirky look at the mort­gage-backed se­cu­rity de­ba­cle that led to theUnited States sliding into re­ces­sion from 2007, and the money man­agers who bet against the fi­nan­cial might of the US econ­omy.

And it had noth­ing to do with short peo­ple.

“I wanted to show that (the fi­nan­cial col­lapse) was more about a sys­tem than it was about in­di­vid­u­als,” di­rec­tor Adam McKay says. “We need bank­ing. Bank­ing is not, in essence, bad ... we just need not cor­rupt bank­ing.”

McKay, the film­maker be­hind rau­cous Will Fer­rell come­dies such as Tal­ladega Nights and An­chor­man, says he had friends and col­leagues on Wall Street and there­fore knew not to joke about its peo­ple.

In­stead, he adapted fi­nan­cial jour­nal­ist Michael Lewis’ best-sell­ing book The Big Short by tak­ing au­di­ences on a far­ci­cal jour­ney into the lit­tle-un­der­stood world of high fi­nance that led to the re­ces­sion and some 8.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans los­ing their jobs.

The Big Short film fol­lows real-life “shorts” — in­vestors who bet against ris­ing stock and bond prices — por­trayed by Bale, Pitt, Carell and Ryan Gosling.

The “shorts”— trader­swho are de­spised by “long” in­vestors who cheer mar­kets to ever-ris­ing fi­nan­cial heights — cor­rectly saw that the hous­ing boom of the 2000s was largely fu­eled by ag­gres­sive lenders who suck­ered peo­ple into bor­row­ing more money than they could af­ford.

The bad debt was repack­aged into ex­otic se­cu­ri­ties sold to un­aware in­vestors. When “shorts” such as Michael Burry (Bale) dis­cov­ered the flawed se­cu­ri­ties, they bet against them but faced making bil­lions of dol­lars from peo­ple­whowere go­ing to lose their life sav­ings in the near fi­nan­cial col­lapse.

LikeLewis’ book, the movie dis­plays the sys­temic farce that caused the loss of jobs, homes and sav­ings. It also ex­plores the so­cial con­science of some “Wall Streeters” who know ev­ery trade has two sides — win­ners and losers.

“It’s got a lot of dif­fer­ent gears to it, and that’s what life has,” McKay says.

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