Chasing Madoff (2011)
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Critic Reviews for Chasing Madoff
Prosserman wisely skirts the esoterica of high finance, though he cleverly uses good visual devices to suggest the shocking scope of Madoff's crimes.
If you're wondering why so many people are cynical about Wall Street, the government and the system in general, "Chasing Madoff" tells you.
The film may leave some viewers even more confused about the Madoff affair than they were in the first place.
Viewers get very little about Madoff himself. While the film is primarily about Markopolos, it makes little sense without much insight into his nemesis.
"Chasing Madoff" is not a very good documentary, but it's a very devastating one.
The hero has a colorless, off-rhythm voice, dead eyes, disorderly hair. He's not, we gather, an imaginative man, but, a religious Greek Orthodox and a former Army officer, he's propelled by a strong sense of rectitude, an ethos of duty.
Audience Reviews for Chasing Madoff
"Chasing Madoff" is an insightful documentary, in more ways than one, about Harry Markopolos, a portfolio manager, who along with a couple of colleagues and an intrepid reporter, was the first one to notice that Bernard Madoff was not only up to no good, but was also in fact running a giant Ponzi scheme. Sadly, nobody else was listening, not most publications or most importantly, the SEC.
In this case, the devil really was in the details, as Harry could tell by the returns that Madoff was sending out that they were fraudulent since nobody consistently gains like that in the stock market, as the documentary also smartly compares Wall Street to the horse track without the watered down beer. However, too much of the documentary is left to empty style in going in circles around Harry's paranoia. But don't laugh, as at the time, Madoff was a very powerful man who may have been getting money also from organized crime. Still, no matter how much time is spent talking about him, Madoff remains a shadowy figure. I mean if a Ponzi scheme is a house of cards that would eventually crumble underneath its own weight, what was Madoff's planned endgame?
In the end, it would not be Harry who would bring him down but every other greedy bastard on Wall Street with the financial crisis in 2008. In any case, the role of the whistleblower could not be any clearer in society, especially when the system fails as it did here. Pay no attention to them at your own risk.
This documentary on the 2008 Bernard Madoff investment scandal came across as a self-promotion for the elaborate Ponzi scheme whistleblowers since it never fully features Madoff himself but primarily on one, understandably yet tiresome, crazed individual. While the producers tried making it engaging by employing various camera techniques or reenactment segments, it felt contrived. Editing was a huge issue as it took some time before it finally settled on a thread of thought to focus on. Despite the calamitous subject matter, "Chasing Madoff" never ran the hard enough the full extent.
Bernie Madoff is one of the most hated individuals in the history of the United States. He is so hated because of a crime that cost countless others their entire lives. Now, in the new documentary, "Chasing Madoff" audiences see exactly the devastation that Madoff brought not only on single individuals and families, but also potentially on the entire economic system of the United States. And all it took to reveal this was one single person.
Harry Markopolous tells his story in this stunning work, of how he came to discover the massive financial fraud being covered by Madoff. It all began a decade before Madoff was eventually arrested at 8:30 in the morning on December 11, 2008. In the course of his story, Markopolous tells viewers how scared he was to really delve into the case and bring it to light. He explains that another whistleblower had been beaten and left for dead because of that person's attempt to uncover wrongdoings. That alone puts this real life story up there with some of the best legal thrillers by the likes of author John Grisham. Viewers also see how Madoff actually covered up his crime for so long before finally being caught. That too, made this such an enthralling work, as it makes one wonder how he got away with it for so long. That leads to another eye opening aspect of the documentary.
What's really eye opening in this documentary isn't so much the massive extent of Madoff's Ponzi scheme. But that as a result of its discovery, members of the SEC and the federal government started pointing fingers at each other, sniping at one another like a bunch of children. Seeing this behavior in the context of the Madoff case serves to prove exactly why Americans are so fed up with Wall Street and the people charged with monitoring its behaviors. While it is a documentary, it's not exactly presented in the standard mold of a documentary. Through interviews with those who lost their money thanks to Madoff, and the people sniffing out Madoff's trail, those who are really interested in this massive financial fraud scheme will really find themselves enthralled by the whole presentation.
"Chasing Madoff" is one of the most gripping real life dramas in modern history. It's the kind of stuff that simply cannot be made up, to use a phrase. But it's definitely the stuff that can be made into stories. It's also a perfect documentary for college level finance and business classes. It serves as a reminder of everything that can happen as a result of one person's misdeeds. Most of all (bad joke here), it serves as a reminder that for criminals on any level, crime simply doesn't pay. Anyone who followed the madoff case remembers that as a result of his crimes, he will likely die in prison, having been sentenced to nearly two hundred years in prison for his crimes. The sad reality of all of this is that while Madoff may never see the light of day again outside prisn walls, those who lost everything will likely never regain their sense of trust among so much more. All of this in mind, Chasing Madoff is one of those documentaries that will alsways have a niche audience. But it will most definitely never be forgotten.
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