the big short



Maybe like you, I always thought finance was boring.

After seeing this film, I see it differently. It’s like a enigmatic zen riddle wrapped in a shifting sand oracle of inscrutable change – or is it?

Ultimately its answers reveal themselves  – to those who want to Really See – the markets reveal their secrets to those who will take the time to look – and most do not – even those who live and breathe it.

This film breaks down how it (the financial crisis) was seen and who saw it.

But not only did some see it (a very few) – they took action.

All the while the true casualties of this crisis – the American taxpayer and homeowner- has no say in the matter. The big banks know the taxpayer will bail them out and no one goes to jail.

Some observations on the film:

  1. No one sees the answer, which is obvious
  2. In order to answer the question, the answer needs to be invented – aka mortgage-backed securities had to be created out of thin air to buy them
  3. The editing keeps the viewer off kilter – occasional blurry images and weird cuts. Art house film editing applied to a potentially conventional subject matter keeps the viewer engaged.
  4. Ryan Gosling is hilarious and also brakes through The Fourth Wall, breaking out of character to directly acknowledge the audience, talking to the camera a la Ferris Bueller
  5. Christian Bale puts in his first great performance since Rescue Dawn
  6. Christian Bale’s and Steve  Carell’s characters have Persistence – they don’t freak out and sell – they stay the course but see what no one else could see – they bet against the banks
  7. Steve Carell’s character’s minions went out into the field and actually talked to mortgage brokers and real estate agents. They found out the banks were not verifying income.
  8. You will know what a tranche is.

In 2016 we harvest massive amounts of data and call this chaos Big Data. This seeming chaos is not totally random to those who want to take the time to study the past and extract is lessons and patterns that emerge to teach.

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