Monday, January 1, 2018

Wizard of Lies - Movie Review

The famous 64 bn ponzi scheme racket of Bernie Madoff is fresh in many people's minds. The 'Wizard of Lies' is all about Madoff's Ponzi scheme (names after one Mr. Ponzi who first ran this scheme). It starts with Madoff's children questioning him about some early payment of bonuses and Madoff finally, after several years of running the fraud, says he forged it all. There were no investments he says and as in a typical Ponzi scheme, older investors were paid very high returns through fresh investments and not through genuine operational profits. FBI steps in, there are arrests, media assaults and the family which has been kept in the dark suffers from the betrayal.

Madoff's beginnings are small.He borrows money from his father in law to set up a securities firm in the 1960s in his name. He hires his brother Peter and makes him Managing Director and his niece the compliance officer. His own children are given separate businesses to run. When the FBI comes in and the Madoff empire falls, Madoff accepts he is guilty of all charges. His older son Mark dies by hanging after two years. His younger son Andrew dies of Lymphoma in 2014. His brother Peter gets 10 years in jail. Madoff himself gets 150 years in prison. Somehow till the end, he seems to believe that he tried to help people and they were also guilty of being greedy. Robert De Niro is absolutely convincing as Madoff, he even looks a lot like him. Nice watch. I wondered why really - maybe we just love to watch misery.

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