Too Big to Fail

(2011)

Genres: Drama

Review: Too Big to Fail

Transcript for Review: Too Big to Fail

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Ok, we’re doing something a little different for this week’s Hot & Now. HBO has two new much talked about films that will be playing over the next week or so and we're going to review them.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
If HBO’s recent miniseries MILDRED PIERCE was a showcase of what a filmmaker could do when given the tools of television, then TOO BIG TO FAIL is a throwback to a time when TV movies were mostly known for being unambitious and sort of boring. Based on the popular non-fiction book, TOO BIG TO FAIL recounts the 2008 financial crisis without wit or style or really anything. It just recounts. The dialogue is a steady stream of exposition and technical patter peppered with awkward profanity to remind you that it’s HBO and that they can do that sort of thing.



Clip 1 (Dick Fuld insulted)


A lot of talented actors come in and do their greatest hits, giving TOO BIG TO FAIL the flavor of an unenthusiastic charity concert. William Hurt does his serious whispering voice, Topher Grace alternates between acting snide and freaking out, James Woods is generally smarmy, and Paul Giammatti talks exclusively under his breath.



Clip 3 (Bernanke eating breakfast)

The only person who seems to be doing anything resembling acting in the whole thing is Billy Crudup, who does a nervy, raw take on Tim Geithner, who was then the president of the New York Federal Reserve. However, Crudup’s devotion to his role can’t keep this afloat. TOO BIG TO FAIL begins airing Monday May 23rd on HBO, which would be a great time to go see showing of Midnight In Paris Instead.

CHRISTY:
My thumb is vaguely up on this, cause Too Big To Fail does something that Inside Job, the documentary that one the oscar this past year, also did pretty well, which is, it takes this really complicated, really unwieldy subject and makes it accessible...

IGNATIY:
And really really boring.

CHRISTY:
It can be a little dry, it takes a bit of time to percolate and get some suspense going there, I will agree it is slow for awhile there, Curtis Hanson Directed it and...

IGNATIY:
But, Curtis Hanson is normally better at, you know, he's fairly good at handling this kind of complicated material I'm surprised how flat this is.

CHRISTY:
This is way more complicated than I think anything in any of his other films has ever been before and it's hard to illustrate, I am with you on that, you mention that all the performances are kind of one note, but actors in them, they're great in their one notes, yes the stunt casting gets a little distracting like, oh look there's Ed Asner as Warren Buffet or there's...

IGNATIY:
There's Matthew Modine, yeah.

CHRISTY:
But, I think that everyone is good in it, I'm not hugely enthusiastic I'm with you on the fact that it's dry, a lot of that is subject matter. This is done better than Inside Job, so go and watch that instead.