Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Big Short: Monday, January 4 2016

The Big Short tells the story of what the big banks did that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-08. Before seeing the film it might be a good idea to read the plot in Wikipedia. The film does it lay out clearly and in great detail, so probably even people who are not familiar with the banking terms would be able to understand it.

The film is competently made; everything is excellent. Directed by Adam McKay, the members of the cast are all great actors. Brad Pit; Steve Carell; Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale: they bring the characters alive. It manages to seem more than an excellent documentary.

I found it a little boring as I already knew the story. I felt the film was rather labouring the point. On the other hand, other people may find it instructive, even amusing at times. The audience around me seemed to be enjoying it.

John Carney, senior editor at CNBC.com, wrote an excellent article for Business Insider on June 27, 2009, on the subject of the part Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act (1977), and subsequent legislation, played in the financial crisis. This article only touches the tip of the iceberg on the part the government played in pushing the banks to accept high-risk clients for mortgages. Much had been written on the subject, both for and against, and a great film could be made about that.

Why did no bank officials go to jail? Why did the government bail out the banks on their bad mortgage loans? The even bigger question is how much was the government involved in the whole process? There was much written in the financial newspapers about it, but nothing was said in the popular media. This left the incorrect impression that the crisis was the result of the "greedy big banks", instead of the utopian ideas of progressive governments.

I wonder if there ever will be a film made about the complete story!

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