Major events in history often find themselves the basis of film adaptations shortly afterwards.
Sometimes these adaptations help inform the public as to what actually occurred such as with Erin Brockovich (2000), while other times these events are used to sensationalise a real event with a fictional plot, such as with 1997’s Titanic.
Adaptations can be useful to help properly understand key events that affect our lives to this day.
One of the biggest and most influential events of the 2000s was the financial crash – but which films help improve our understanding of the event and help us make sense of the shockwaves still experienced today?
The Financial Crash on Film
The Big Short (2015)
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The Big Short aimed to showcase some of the people embroiled in the financial crash, focusing on Michael Burry, who predicted that the subprime mortgage bubble would soon burst.
Played by Christian Bale, who has recently been cast in Marvel’s next Thor flick, the actor manages to bring out a human side to Burry.
The film is part-biopic on the key figures involved, and part explanation of the credit crunch.
You can read a summary here about how some of those involved saw it coming and prepared themselves, ending up in a positive position despite so much financial turmoil.
Gambling on such a key event may seem foolhardy, but Michael Burry shows exactly what led to his decision to bet against the market.
One of the most stylistic moments of the film was the explanation of the crisis, as told by Margot Robbie in the bath.
The actress – now well-known to comic fans for portraying Harley Quinn, explains what happened in a way that keeps the audience’s attention.
The film’s focus on the fund managers who bet against the housing market at one of its most stable points in history might not seem like it keeps your attention for the duration.
But the film not only helps us get to grips with the crash, but it also helps show why the system is stacked in such a way that financial collapse is never more than a few bad decisions away.
Margin Call (2011)
As The Big Short explains the crisis in a sanitised, logical way, Margin Call is set on the night of the crash and gives the event a spectacular Hollywood feeling.
After an analyst discovers evidence of the looming crash, the characters scramble to try to stay on top of the disaster.
The film is like Titanic in that the first third of the film is filled with a tension that signals something terrible is about to happen.
While the film doesn’t focus as much on those who were gambling against the market, it shows the ramifications for those caught in the crosshairs.
The release of the film came just three years after the events, and many were still reeling from the aftershocks gave it deeper meaning.
It also helped humanise some of those who were caught up in the situation, but who didn’t personally do anything wrong.
The crash is often seen as something beyond anyone’s control, and Margin Call certainly played with that, treating the crash as though it was a horrendous accident.
Some critics derided the film for being too slow, but it’s ending is enough to justify sitting through it.
The financial crash may have occurred more than a decade ago, but many people can still speak of the devastating effects.
As talk of another plummeting recession hits the financial pages, these movies will help stir up some of the helplessness that many felt at the time.
The films go to show that just because it happened once, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen all over again.
What do you make of this feature?
Are you going to be watching The Big Short and Margin Call?
Let us know if you think there are any better movies on the financial crash in the comments below.