Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA/Canada, 2011. Screenplay by Jeff Prosserman, based on the book No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos. Cinematography by Julian Van Mil. Produced by Jeff Prosserman. Music by David Fleury. Production Design by Harrison Yurkiw. Film Editing by Jeff Bessner, Garry Tutte.
The scandal captured headlines for months when stockbroker/investment guru Bernie Madoff turned himself in to authorities and admitted to being the head of the largest Ponzi scheme in business history. After years of defrauding investors of literally billions of dollars, Madoff stood trail and pleaded guilty, earning himself a mere 150 years in the slammer and leaving a trail of devastation and destruction behind him. Did you know, however, that someone was on to him for many years leading up to his arrest? This wittily entertaining documentary follows the career of portfolio manager Harry Markopolos from the time he figured out that Madoff was crooked (which was about ten years before it became public) through his years of documentation, investigation, and teamwork with other financial wizards who were all adamant about taking this man down. The fascinating part is when evidence is presented to the Securities and Exchange Commission which is summarily ignored for a ridiculous length of time. The film is terribly misguided in thinking that it requires dramatic recreations of certain events: Markopolos is a great interview subject and obviously an admirable man, but he’s no actor, and watching him mime his way through his discovery of the scheme or reactions to life-changing phone calls is painfully cheesy. The film tells a fascinating story, however, and the best bits are the footage of the SEC getting themselves ripped a new asshole by the panel on the House of Representatives, who berate the now-resigned members of the financial guardians non-stop about their failure to prevent such a large crime from happening when that is the sole reason for their existence.