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The stakes are high in new trailer for The Big Short, starring Christian Bale and more

Bank fraud’s not usually a laughing matter, but it has its comical moments in the new trailer for The Big Short. The upcoming comedy-drama film, loosely based on Michael Lewis’ 2010 nonfiction book of the same name, follows a group of four with the foresight to plan for the busting of the housing and credit bubble.

As we all know now, banks created conditions that ultimately hurt the American people and economy, but the trailer shows that the signs of the impending crisis weren’t visible to more than a small number of people. The central group sees the writing on the wall, and they decide to bet against banks in hopes of profiting from the inevitable financial collapse. Perhaps it’s not the kindest thing to do, but it’s certainly smart.

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Of course, betting is never risk-free, and it certainly isn’t in The Big Short, either. The new trailer practically hits viewers over the head with how high the stakes are for the group. “We can do everything straight and still go broke,” says Porter Collins (played by Hamish Linklater) at one point.  “This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) adds later. Yes, it’s safe to say the main players could lose it all.

As far as the film itself goes, though, the likelihood of a positive outcome seemed all but guaranteed. Multiple other movies based on books by Lewis have gone on to score Oscar nominations, including Moneyball and The Blind Side. Its stars are equally impressive, with Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling headlining. The cast also includes Melissa Leo, John Magaro, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, and Marisa Tomei.

The Big Short opens in limited release on December 11, followed by a wider release on December 23.