As a 2008 college graduate who entered adult life in the middle of the country’s downward spiral into recession, I found The Big Short extremely depressing. In its detailed depiction of the machinations of the collapse, it reminded me at every turn of how much misfortune and fear were suffered by regular Americans due to the greed and blindness of the self-declared “best and brightest.” And its sardonic portrayal of how the system righted itself and kept going, without any significant reform, while everyone else suffered, reminded me of the great disappointment of the bailout. Reforms were gutted, while the banks deemed “too big to fail” got rescued with almost no consequences to themselves. Meanwhile, individuals all over the country got evicted. Filed for bankruptcy. Lived in fear.
The Big Short examines a slice of this vast injustice, but from a point of view so narrowly focused that it risks celebrating the exact culture it’s critiquing. Meanwhile, The Hunger Games—seemingly so removed from such pragmatic issues as credit default swaps—presents a luminous alternative to the shortcomings of The Big Short.
Fair warning: I’m going to assume everyone has had a chance to see these movies if they’re going to, and discuss them in full beneath the cut.