Compiling the build-up and fallout of the seismic actions and reactions to the financial crisis of 2007-08 is not a particularly promising project for Adam McKay. His works before The Big Short had been withering comedies like The Other Guys and Step Brothers. All directors must make their leap from comedy to drama at some stage. Jay Roach tripped through Austin Powers: Goldmember and made it through, unscathed, to Trumbo. But for McKay, the desire to adapt modern history was overbearing. His need and lust to shed a spotlight on the political machine and the problems of it was too much to resist, not just for the director and his cast but audiences who fell at the shocking revelations that McKay made.
With a grand ensemble like this, it is clear to see that director Jon Watts is acting on the orders of Marvel. Cram the well-refined characters of the Sam Raimi universe and the not-so intensified versions of the Andrew Garfield features into the Marvel meat grinder. Chow down on a big bowl of nostalgia, where once defined characters come together for a big, boring blowout. The Multiverse was hyped up long before Spider-Man: No Way Home was ever announced, yet it is still, in the words of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) something we know “frighteningly little” about.
Trundling through the directed filmography of Sidney Lumet, I’m struggling to come across a film of his that hasn’t totally enthralled me. His earliest works are as strong as his final outings, a director that provided consistency to all of his projects. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead pairs this formidable director with a parade of actors who, until very recently, had crafted some of their all-time greatest works. It’s hard not to lose yourself in such a tremendously simple, yet extraordinarily rewarding premise. A bank job gone wrong, and the intermingling stories that lead up to the build-up and fallout of two brothers looking to fix their financial problems in one quick job.