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.
Unraveled explains how Dreier build his empire on shaky stacks of debt and lies, then follows how it all came falling down. It also relates his case to Bernie Madoff's similar case also going on at the time. During his interviews, Dreier shows remorse and a sense of responsibility for his actions. The documentary leaves you understanding the position Dreier was in, and also learning enough of his personality to understand why he committed the fraud.
Overall, Unraveled does an excellent job explaining the inside situation surrounding Marc Dreier's case and provides a great explanation of the economic climate during the last 20 years. When it was over, I was left feeling informed and sympathetic, but also sure that Dreier got what he deserved.