I'm here to share my admiration for (the portrayal of) Mark Baum's moral compass.
He wants to do what's right. But what resonated even more with me was that he wants to ask all the questions. He has an inquisitive eye, which many (including his wife) want him to tone down for his own sanity and overall quality of life.
But he wants to know, and not just to know, but because he wants to know why, he wants to expose how, and he wants to learn and potentially execute how things can be done more effectively and legally with the "right" people in mind.
SPOILER ALERT (but not really): What he does at the end of the film is what I figured he would, but I had hoped he would not. Would I do the same thing had I been in that position? Probably, but in theory, I would like to say I could stick to my guns and keep my integrity in the face of a man made catastrophe.
So, yeah...going back to Mark Baum...with another mention of the fact that I haven't read the book yet...
Even with the structure of the movie, using Gosling's Vennett as narrator, taking into consideration of Bale's Dr. Burry, Pitt's, Rickert, and Magaro and Wittrock as the duo from Brownfield, Steve Carell's Mark Baum was set up to be disliked early on. And I think that was part of the plan, full-knowing the general American public's enjoyment of Carell. But his Baum...his just edgy enough to be an asshole, while still hard-nosed to fit in (ish) with these financial types, but what really struck me is how he is the same way with everyone, including his wife played by Marisa Tomei.
(Sidenote: I was kind of hoping Emma Stone would make an appearance because #CrazyStupidLove)
I keep getting sidetracked...(actually, the more honest wording would be..."I keep sidetracking myself.")
What I'm trying to say is that I feel like Mark Baum sometimes. I don't ask questions to make people look bad. I don't do it for personal benefit. I ask questions and challenge and poke and prod and inquire because I genuinely want to know why things are happening the way they are. Are they right? Who are these methods serving? Who implemented these practices? Is it a hopeless case, or can it be reformed?
Everyone has their motivations for pushing ahead or even staying out (like Rickert), but what makes me sad is that Mark Baum's drive for revealing truth isn't more common. It isn't to prove self-righteousness, and it isn't even for personal benefit. It's for the masses. It's for the people. It's to broaden our perspectives as a society.
Truth is like poetry. And most people hate fucking poetry.-Overheard at a Washington D.C. barI know I don't have all the answers, and I will never claim to. What I can do, and what I choose to do on a daily basis is ask the hard questions. Of myself and of my environment, those around me included. A lot of people aren't a fan of this, and I'm fully aware of this. It has taken me a long time to be able to ask myself challenging, truly inquisitive questions on a constant basis, and I don't expect others who have chosen to not question like I have to instantaneously flip a behavioral shift and start doing this. This isn't an end all, be all practice, but I can say from experience, that being able to Mark Baum a few things and ask the tough questions can really open your world up. Even if you don't know how far down the rabbit hole goes, or whether you're falling down said rabbit hole, or if it's within yourself, it takes a hell of a risk to do it.
And whether you sell the swaps or not, just know why you're doing it, and that'll bring you a bigger payoff than anyone else can get you.