"The Big Short," the new film starring Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, is the movie "the enemies of financial regulation really, really don't want you to see," Paul Krugman argued in his Friday New York Times column.
Krugman acknowledged that some of his colleagues at the Times are better equipped to play film critic, so he will stick to "whether the movie got the underlying economic, financial and political story right" -- "[a]nd the answer is yes, in all the ways that matter." What the film gets particularly correct was the willful blindness of those who claimed that not only did the housing bubble not exist, it could not exist.
"And the bubble whose existence they denied really was inflated largely via opaque financial schemes that in many cases amounted to outright fraud," which the movie documents as admirably as a film can given the nature of its subject matter. The film, Krugman argued, should scare the economic elite pilloried in it, and
[s]ure enough, “The Big Short” has already been the subject of vitriolic attacks in Murdoch-controlled newspapers; if the movie is a commercial success and/or wins awards, expect to see much more.
The thing to remember, when you see such attacks, is why they’re taking place. The truth is that the people who made “The Big Short” should consider the attacks a kind of compliment: The attackers obviously worry that the film is entertaining enough that it will expose a large audience to the truth. Let’s hope that their fears are justified...