The sub-heading for this would be ‘a double bill with a bigger picture of organised fuck-ups’. It surprised me how well these two films blended together, both 2016 Oscar films, but very different in style. I saw the meandering, engrossing ‘Spotlight’ on my birthday, and was took away by it, being crumbled in tears by the end. And I saw the jumping hilarity of ‘The Big Short’ maybe a week later, but it didn’t quite grab me. I have recently watched the pair back to back, having the same feeling for ‘Spotlight’ and a new admiration for ‘The Big Short’. Yet, I don’t want to really write about their form, I want to think more about their content.
Since the closing credits of ‘Spotlight’ I have been repulsed by anything related to the Catholic church. I mean I’ve not always been a big fan, and had sort of a believe what you want kind of attitude. However this film shows the poison of it all and how deep ingrained the paedophilia is. It shows how the psychological deficiency that comes with the religious organisation, a birth of evil that comes from the role of the priest, or the power of God. From this, I detest it all, the grandmother visiting church for peace of mind, the Sunday schools for disadvantaged children, the ‘happy’ community of religion. All this good is marked by a cold glare of horrific behaviour. And this is discounting the fraud and lies fed by the higher reaches of the religious organisation. The negative ecclesiastical politics seeping through the positives of a Catholic harmony. Spotlight is a wonderful film that has hopefully took a chunk out of a dark place.
It’s incredible how Brad Pitt can show up for a tiny percentage of a movie and have such an impact. His lines in the casino towards the end of ‘The Big Short’ say it all: “If we’re right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions. You know what I hate about fucking banking? It reduces people to numbers — ever 1% unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die, did you know that?”. What more do I have to say about how torturous and ignorant the top 1% bankers and financial leaders have been. This film tells a really sad story through numbers, and it pains me to think of the arrogance of it all. It’s a tale of a lack of control of the system by the majority, where the puppet strings are pulled by the greedy. And probably the most infuriating thing is that it will continue to happen. Films like this and ‘Margin Call’ are important, and need to be thought upon, not dismissed as pop culture.
Consequently you put these films together and they create a jigsaw that spell out ‘DON’T TRUST ANY FORM OF UNTOUCHABLE ORGANISATION’. Hopefully films like these make them touchable and broken, so that a 100 years from now we can laugh at them. I’d be voting against it.
“Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”
– overheard at a Washington D.C. bar.