The Big Short
Mixing excellent performances with pitch-black gallows humour and utterly insane but true info on why the 2008 crash happened, the lack of consequence for those reponsible remains staggering. Why did politicians not go after the bankers? Because the bankers could burn the politicians and fuck it, like the voters will actually vote differently anyway. The actual response? Politics turning ever more vicious towards the weakest in society played out and is continuing to do so. In a way you could likely chart the 2008 crash consequences playing out all the way to Trump and Brexit.
It’s in some of the conversations that a human face gets put on it - like the renter whose landlord hasn’t been paying the mortgage, or the pole dancer with five loans. Then there are the sharks giving out those loans and while that may have stopped in housing matters, it hasn’t stopped elsewhere - the flow of easy credit continues. If I wanted to, I’m told by my bank I can get a up to a £35k loan - not that I want to because it’s a loan.
While I knew the basic story, the details this film adds makes it even more appalling. That there was no barrier to working in finance regulation and then going to working for the companies regulated is stunning and probably so over here. People have moved from HMRC to a big bank’s tax advice division. But the big one is how it explained synthetic CDOs for those with no knowledge of them. It has several points like it, where you’re wondering how the hell anyone let it go on but the answer, reiterated through the film, is it was all hidden behind a wall of jargon. These are very complicated products that you couldn’t possibly understand so just trust us when we tell you it’s all under control and your government still gets those few billions in tax revenue, OK?
And then the last sting in the tail at the end, want to invest in a bespoke tranche opportunity?
A really smart film, but it’s amazing we’ve all meekly just accepted it. It becomes more so when you add in some politicians going for the pure free market angle of the banks should have been allowed to go bust. There’s some over here in the UK, the no regulation laissez-faire bunch, I’m sure they have their US counterparts.
Murder on the Orient Express
This is a fun ‘spot the actor’ film and talk about attack of the 'tache. For all I’d agree that Branagh is a bit too large to really nail Poirot, his version ain’t bad - he gets the pickyness of the character right.