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Unraveled (2012)

tomatometer

57

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

43

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 217

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My Rating

Movie Info

Just days before Bernard Madoff captured headlines as the largest Ponzi schemer in U.S. history, Marc Dreier, a prominent Manhattan attorney, was arrested for orchestrating a massive fraud scheme that netted hundreds of millions of dollars from hedge funds. Brazen forgeries and impersonations branded the white-collar crime spree remarkable. Unraveled is set in the "purgatory" of house arrest -- an upper East Side penthouse -- where the Court has ordered Dreier confined until his sentencing day.

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

As both man and metaphor, Drier is a pretty potent subject.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One moment Dreier is proclaiming his regret, the next he's drawing a bankrupt analogy between fictional bank robbers and the crimes he committed in "so-called reality."

April 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Like the Upper East Side penthouse in which it unfolds, the documentary "Unraveled" is cool and elegant, echoing with spaces for our imaginations to fill.

April 12, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In allowing Dreier to shape his own narrative, too many lame excuses are allowed to pass, as the financial schemer spins his own story dangerously close to self-pity.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a fascinating fishbowl in concept, yet Simon's storytelling is unevenly textured and oddly listless-fatal for a film about a banal document-pushing felon clock-watching to a known outcome.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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The fascinating human portrait that emerges should draw appreciative if limited audiences.

June 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
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...you have to give Dreier style points; [even Bernie] Madoff never flew to Toronto to impersonate a representative of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan...

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Unraveled is a con job. It has the clammy hands of its crooked main figure all over it. Unraveled is a prime example of why one sometimes should be skeptical of a documentary.

April 24, 2012 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

An intriguingly intimate portrait of someone who was convinced he wasn't destined to be one of the little people - and paid the price for trying to prove otherwise.

April 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

Marc H. Simon's documentary has the thrust of a great American noir or black comedy.

April 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Unraveled

The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing Ponzi scheme unravelings in 2009 make for very compelling stories, lessons, and character studies. In unraveled, director Marc Simon looks at the case of Marc Dreier, whose case seemingly embodies all of the above. Dreier, a supposedly hugely successful New York attorney, was found to have engaged in a $400 million dollar fraud that had him bizarrely impersonating, and hiring others to impersonate for him.

While an interesting premise, Simon fails to really seize the opportunity. Filmed in the 60 days prior to his sentencing, this was a unique opportunity to paint an intimiate portrait of a man that was deeply torn. Instead, the film gives him far too much leeway. Drier is his own narrator, and seemingly dictates the flow of the film. Good documentaries take a more objective look, and force the subject out of their comfort zone. In Unraveled, that comfort zone is never pushed. Dreier seems remourceful yet prone to excuses and rationalizing, never being conforted to the contrary.

This results in a documentary that feels far too safe, and devoid of the sort of insight one would expect. We get plenty of Dreier's rationalizing and humanizing, yet never fully get to the heart of what went wrong, the intimate details of the fraud, nor a profound change in character of Dreier.

An overall bland and disappointing effort.

2.5/5 Stars
October 19, 2013
Jeffrey Meyers

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