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Too Big To Fail
BLU-RAY disk
06.21.2012 By: Jason Adams
Too Big To Fail order download
Director:
Curtis Hanson

Actors:
William Hurt
Billy Crudup
Paul Giamatti

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A detailed look at the government response to the U.S. mortgage crisis and financial meltdown of 2008.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
TOO BIG TOO FAIL is lucky that it has such an important, interesting and true story at its core, because as a film it’s barely passable.

The one thing the HBO movie does accomplish is showing just how quickly and closely the United States came to witnessing the collapse of our modern financial system. It’s truly terrifying and you definitely feel the stakes of a potential global Great Depression in TOO BIG TO FAIL. Not to mention I think the mortgage meltdown is still something the average American doesn’t fully understand, so it’s helpful to have this film as a primer to educate. Although since it really only exists to provide facts about the events and show off its star power, you might be better off watching a documentary instead of a dramatic interpretation.

The issue is the script, which never rises above mediocre, even with L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and WONDER BOYS director Curtis Hanson at the helm. It’s too broad and not as clever as it thinks, opting to be informative instead of a good movie. There’s really no structure or character arcs of any kind, just stagnant facts until the end. The writing is also unbelievably lazy and cliché, featuring tired tropes like William Hurt’s wife joining him outside during a sleepless night to reassure him that it’s not his fault, or Billy Crudup magically coming up with the solution while he’s out jogging. But perhaps most telling and ludicrous is the part where the Secretary of the Treasury and his staff take five minutes of the movie to explain the basics of the mortgage crisis for no reason other than to inform Average Joe Viewer. Again it’s nice info to relay to the audience, but completely ludicrous in the context of the movie that the country’s brightest minds need a refresher in Economics 101.

The number of impressive actors in TOO BIG TO FAIL helps to gloss over these faults a little, but not completely. You get the aforementioned William Hurt, Topher Grace, James Woods, Paul Giammati (looking scarily like Ben Bernanke,) Billy Crudup, Matthew Modine, Tony Shaloub, Ed Asner (wearing a horrific wig as Warren Buffet), two seconds of John Heard and Eric Wallkuski…I mean, Bill Pullman. Aside from Treasury Secretary Hurt, no one in the movie has time to play a real character, just names. So while they do lend some legitimacy to the proceedings, they don’t make much of an impact overall.
THE EXTRAS
The Making of TOO BIG TO FAIL (1:48): This is a laughably short PR fluff piece, not a “making of.”

Opening the Vault on the Financial Crisis (19:08): Ironically, this is more of a “making of” than the previous feature. Cast and crew discuss the importance of the film and the real life situation, as well as experts and the original author of the book.

Timeline of a Crisis: A pretty cool graphic showing the important events covered in the film in ordered format.

A DVD and Digital Copy is also included.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
TOO BIG TO FAIL is a barely average movie elevated by a tense, interesting true story and A-level cast. You’re honestly better off reading the book to get the same info, or if someone makes a documentary along the lines of ENRON: SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM, give that a watch instead.

Extra Tidbit: Author Aaron Ross Sorkin is not related to Aaron Sorkin.
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