The MVP: Carell channels the rage of the people with unexpected force and Gosling delivers the funniest performance of his career (maybe it’s time to stop forcing his leading-man status?). But Christian Bale steals the show with his subtly tragic arc. His Michael Burry, a misunderstood, Asperger-stricken hedge-fund manager, begins the movie by funneling millions of his clients' money into the insurance gamble of a lifetime. His calculations predict banks will fall in a year, but it takes three; he's reduced to a husk of his former self before a swift “TOLDJA” yanks him back from the brink. The turmoil is excruciating, yet Bale’s performance is resilient and often wickedly funny.
See it if... Your blood pressure is at a new low; you want to see Hollywood’s finest school you in AP Economics; you’re worried about the next housing bubble.
Skip it if... You strongly believe in “ignorance is bliss”; you thought Wolf of Wall Street gave traders a bad rap; you’re an employee of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He fears the banks. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.