Is the narrative of "The Big Short" the best explanation of the financial crisis?
If anything can shape the public’s understanding of the complexities of the recent housing bubble and global financial crisis, it’s a Hollywood movie.
Last month’s release of “The Big Short”—based on the bestselling book of the same name by Michael Lewis and starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling—made $10 million in its opening weekend. That’s a pretty good showing for a film with a plot driven by credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.
The film has provoked an intense conversation, sparking a discussion of whether mortgage-backed securities were the primary driver of the crisis, as opposed to broader economic forces and whether those responsible were adequately punished.
On Wednesday, January 27, the film’s director, Adam McKay (who also directed and co-wrote “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” and “Step Brothers”), visited Washington for a screening of “The Big Short” hosted by Economic Studies at Brookings.
After the screening, McKay joined a panel of financial experts and journalists to discuss whether the film’s narrative is the right one to explain the crisis to the public.
You can join the conversation and tweet questions for the panelists at #TheBigShort.
Related Reading: Telling the narrative of the financial crisis: Not just a housing bubble, Martin Neil Baily and Douglas Elliott