I think most of us who were aware of the world and were watching the news in 2008 remember Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. And I think most of us were like, wow, that sucks, but because we didn’t know anyone impacted or weren’t impacted ourselves, we just kind of moved on. We forget that there were real people behind this news story. Everyone from Bernie Madoff to his family to those whos money Bernie stole. HBO’s “The Wizard of Lies” brings the news story to life, and brings the human side to a story that is almost 10 years in the past.
The Emmy nominations for this docudrama were totally well deserved. The entire cast is amazing and the movie shows the depths of despair and that those impacted by this betrayal of trust. The movie opens up with the actual reporter who wrote the book the movie is based on conducting a prison interview with Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff. The story then goes back and forth between Madoff explaining his side of the story while he’s behind bars and showing the last few years before the scheme fell apart.
De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, as Madoff’s wife Ruth, are perfection. It was a master class watching the two of them play off each other through the good and bad times. And the way De Niro captures, what I can only assume to be, the perfect imitation of Madoff’s removed attitude toward the ramifications to his actions blows my mind. And to see Pfeiffer play his wife Ruth, in this counterpoint to Madoff going from stand by your man to I choose myself and the kids was a believable and heartbreaking portrayal.
I appreciated the fact that the story didn’t make Madoff out to be this one-sided villain. It made the watching that much more personal and have a little understanding of what he was thinking. It was also heartbreaking to watch what this did to his two sons. These two successful men were always in their father’s shadow and were crushed by him. It could have been so easy to just throw the whole family under the bus and mark them all as evil, how could they not have known, and “The Wizard of Lies” does the exact opposite. I applaud all those involved for wanting to give this story and the real people who lived through this a voice that had depth and showed that there’s more than just one side to every news story we read.
The bluray edition does come with a short cast and crew interview talking about the production and the real story. It’s just a nice little something extra for those who don’t do extras, and I think will appease those fans who want the in-depth extras.
Thanks to HBO we have 2 “The Wizard of Lies” prize packs to giveaway. One winner will get a paperback movie-tie-in edition of the book and a Bluray of the Emmy Nominated HBO movie. The second winner will get a paperback movie-tie-in edition of the book and a digital download of the movie. This giveaway is for US addresses only, use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, all other standard rules apply.