Watch The Wizard of Lies
- 2 hr 13 min
In 2017, HBO released a riveting film, The Wizard of Lies, based on the real-life story of Bernie Madoff, one of the most infamous financial fraudsters in history. Directed by Barry Levinson, the movie stars Robert De Niro as Madoff, Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife Ruth, and Alessandro Nivola as their older son Mark. The film is a cautionary tale of greed, deception, and betrayal, as it delves into the Madoff family's downfall, the shocking magnitude of their crimes, and the devastating impact on their victims.
The Wizard of Lies opens with Madoff's arrest on December 11, 2008, for running the largest Ponzi scheme in history, which cost his investors approximately $65 billion. The story then flashes back and forth in time, exploring Madoff's rise to wealth and prominence, his meticulous ability to conceal his fraudulent activities, and the unraveling of his elaborate scheme. Along the way, we get glimpses into his family life and how his actions affect those closest to him.
De Niro gives an exceptional performance as Madoff, depicting him as a master manipulator who is charming yet ruthless, confident yet deceitful. Pfeiffer is equally impressive as Ruth, who stands by her husband despite knowing the extent of the crimes he is committing. Nivola is also commendable as Mark, whose trust in his father is shattered when he finds out the truth about the Ponzi scheme.
One of the film's most significant strengths is the way it humanizes the Madoff family and tries to understand their motivations. The movie reveals how Bernie's immense greed and desire to keep up appearances drove him to commit the fraud, and how Ruth's loyalty to her husband blinded her to the consequences of his actions. It also examines the relationship between Bernie and Mark, painting a picture of a father and son dynamic that is complicated by the pressures of family expectations and a toxic culture of greed.
The Wizard of Lies does an excellent job of portraying the Madoff scandal's impact on the victims, who lost not only their life savings but also their faith in the financial system. The film shows the emotional toll the fraud takes on one victim in particular, Harry Markopolos (played by Frank Whaley), who tried to expose Madoff's fraud years before it was uncovered by the authorities. Markopolosâ pursuit of the truth was met with disbelief, denial and even aggression from some members of Wall Street.
The movie also provides insight into the government's investigation of Madoff, revealing how the authorities failed to catch him years earlier due to a lack of resources and expertise. The Wizard of Lies underscores the need for stronger regulations and oversight in the financial sector to prevent future frauds like Madoff's from happening again.
Overall, The Wizard of Lies is a must-see movie. It is a compelling, thought-provoking drama that offers a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes of one of the most significant financial scandals in history. The film is not just a fascinating character study of Bernie Madoff, but also a sobering reminder of the consequences of unchecked greed and corruption.
The Wizard of Lies is a 2017 crime movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 13 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.