I mean, it’s a cowardly film. You can include as many ‘hilarious’ celebrity cameos as you like, you can distract us with the innate charm of your main cast, but at the end of the day it’s a film about a few men (and they were only men as far as I could see) profiting whilst families lose their jobs and their homes. And not for one second does this film seriously contemplate the notion that these people are hideous, appalling scum. Sure, Brad Pitt shouts at two younger men for one minute in a two hour film, but that shout has no consequence for the characters (or the real human beings upon which they are based). Those ridiculous credit titles that tell you what they’re up to after the events of the film, well some of them have left the financial world. As a result of their conscience? No. They are able to leave because they can afford to leave. They can afford to leave because they profited from the ordinary working person’s inability to navigate the oppressive financial situations constructed by the banks.
McKay, a man who has directed several films by this stage, shoots this with true ‘shaky-cam’ panache, like he’s directing a late 90’s Jamie Oliver cooking show. It only makes you think that there is a more interesting film happening off to the side of the film you are watching.
Perhaps that film had women in it? Because this film had one woman to nag a lead character, one woman to be stuck up and corrupt, one woman in a bubble bath, and a few strippers. We had to be shown the strippers, just in case we’re unsure of what a naked woman looks like. And they’re going to be used to show just who exactly was being miss-sold mortgages. Because nothing speaks to our deeply messed up views of sex and women than a quick judgement call upon a stripper (a profession in movies used only as shorthand for “poor life choices”).
Still. I liked it. It made me laugh in a few places. I’m ultimately as much a part of this capitalist system as the filmmakers are.
Seen at the Odeon Covent Garden. Decent, mid-sized auditorium with a nice size screen. Ticket cost £6.