Unusual Editing Choices Turn 'The Big Short' Into an Experiential Comedy

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Adam McKay's dark comedy The Big Short finds humor in unusual subject material: the 2008 housing crisis. It also uses distinctive editing--a combination of stock footage, unconventional cuts, and unexpected imagery--to deliver the comedy courtesy of editor Hank Corwin.

"This goes along again with what I was saying about wanting this film to be really experiential," Corwin tells Slate about choosing to cut some scenes in the middle of a line. "It’s like so many times, say, if you’re walking in the street, you’ll turn your head and there’ll be a sound you hear, you walk away and it cuts out … In film, people shoot these long shots, and they think that’s the truth, but that isn’t truth. It’s what’s recorded onto a piece of film or digital art. I try, when I cut, even the shot selection, as opposed to having it be third person where you’re watching people doing something, I want it to be like you’re in there with them. So by cutting things off, it’s jarring, and deliberately so. I’m trying to slam people in, and I don’t need to hear—we know what he’s going to say. And I found that it made it actually a more powerful statement, because everybody finished his line, or his boss’s line in their heads."


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