Most of us have had dreams of becoming independently wealthy at one time or another. It is therefore no surprise that film directors have often focused upon this subject and enticed us with some truly tempting situations. For example, why not become involved with the lucrative and fast-paced world of investing? The three films listed below have caused us to envision what life would be like if were could suddenly quit our day jobs and become involved with some truly life-changing situations. Let’s take a closer look.
The Big Short
One of the most interesting features of The Big Short is that it was based off of the housing market crash which gripped the world only a handful of years ago. This film describes the exploits of a hedge fund manager who realized that the 2007 crash was imminent. As opposed to running for the hills, he instead seeks to create a credit default swap market (in essence, taking advantage of predicted loan defaults). His predictions soon become a reality and when the housing market collapsed, his fund were worth a staggering 489 per cent of its previous value. This equated to roughly $2.69 billion dollars in profit. Although the fund manager eventually fell from grace, the sheer excitement of superseding such a large crash and feeling that he was one step ahead of the game represents an adrenaline rush that would appeal to us all.
Jeremy Irons has always been known for his witty and smooth performances on camera. He certainly lived up to this reputation in the 2011 film Margin Call. Playing the CEO of an unnamed Wall Street firm, Irons was well aware that the current portfolio of mortgaged-backed securities was exceeding historical volatility levels. In other words, a massive devaluation was soon to take place. While he is warned be several figures including an analyst played by Stanley Tucci and a floor manager played by Kevin Spacey, Irons instead decides to pull off a “fire sale” to liquidate its toxic assets. The interesting thing about this scenario is that it has happened in the past and it will likely occur again in the future. Another point to mention is that while the firm’s losses were monumental, the CEO simply claimed that such a bearish movement is simply part of the natural economic cycle. His character exudes power, confidence and a ruthlessness which have all served to define many Wall Street brokers over the years. The bottom line is that having the ability to weather a massive financial storm is a quality that we all respect (and envy).
Whether referring to the classic 1987 film or the rather embarrassing remake, the fact of the matter is that all of us have had a secret desire to be Gordon Gekko on occasion. Not only did Mr. Gekko wield an unbelievable amount of power, but he had the ability to make this wealth look stylish and sexy. Fancy cars, $100-dollar lunches, silk ties and the adoration from a young protégé all cemented the appeal of this maverick character. Of course, we all know that Gekko was eventually caught. It could still be argued that this was not the point of the story. When we find ourselves somewhat rooting for a man known to be corrupt, we see that the lines between wealth and morality can easily become blurred.
These films all made a lasting impression upon countless viewers and while we might not be able to simply walk away from our jobs, there is nothing wrong with dreaming on occasion!