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The Big Short trailer showcases big stars, big money, and big heartache

Famous for making esoteric and complex subjects accessible to the masses, Author Michael Lewis’ books have frequently appeared on best-seller lists. That sort of popularity, of course, tends to draw interest from Hollywood, and several of his works have received screen adaptations, including The Blind Side (2009) and Moneyball (2011), an exposé on Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane’s revolutionary approach to the business of baseball that starred Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Today, we got our first look at the trailer for the latest Lewis book-to-film adaptation: The Big Short.

The source material chronicles the story of a small group of very smart people who foresaw the 2008 housing and credit crisis before almost anyone else, and profited enormously from an economic meltdown that wrought financial ruin upon millions. By discovering just how profligate and unscrupulous America’s major financial institutions had become, they were able to, in essence, bet against the banks before the proverbial you know what hit the fan.

Related: Christian Bale and Brad Pitt lead The Big Short, based on Moneyball author’s novel

This is basically the story of the global financial crisis in micro, and should be intriguing to a whole host of people who still don’t quite understand what happened to the homes, jobs, and retirement accounts they once had. Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell headline the all-star cast, and the fast-moving trailer does its best to break down all the financial jargon into simple, format-friendly buzz phrases:

“The American people are getting screwed by the big banks.”

“There’s some shady stuff going down.”

“While the banks were having a big ol’ party, a few outsiders saw what no one else could, and the whole world economy went collapse.”

That about sums it up.

Lewis’ impressive ability to distill complex subject matter down to its essence is illustrated beautifully in the exchange at the 1:05 mark, when a stuffy-looking woman says to Steve Carrel’s character Steve Eisman “I’m sure the world’s banks have more incentives than greed” and he casually replies “you’re wrong.”

Sigh. Hopefully director Adam McKay’s (Step Brothers, Anchorman) comedic chops can help America laugh away the pain. The Big Short hits theaters December 25, 2015.