It’s not that often that Hollywood produces a flick that is both engrossing and educational. But, “The Big Short” delivers and then some. Not only is it based on real events, it gets the essentials of that recent history spot on.

“The Big Short” tells two tales:  First, how a small group of men managed to make hundreds of millions of dollars by betting or hedging against the sustainability of the 2007 – 2008 US housing bubble. Second, how the big banks and private rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s lied and engaged in outright fraud to hide their egregious lapses in judgment when it came to selling and valuing home mortgages to hordes of provably unqualified buyers when they damn well knew better.

If coming to an understanding of all this escaped you as these real events unfolded eight years ago, this movie is educative. But, the financial lingo and the pace of the on-screen action come at you so fast that you have to stay focused and skip a bathroom break or trip to the snack bar. Be especially attentive to those snippets in the movie where well-known celebrities in cameo appearances, offer up some down-to-earth explanations of what is otherwise hard to wrap your mind around.

In sum, this is one hell of a flick and on several different levels. The concept, the acting and the writing are top-of-the line. Its educational value should make it a “must-see” for everyone.