The sad part of this film is that it actually happened. Bernie Madoff pulled over the largest Ponzi scheme in history and defaulted investors out of tens of billions of dollars for 17 years (Kenton, 2018). I started to study some courses that spoke about the scandal and I remembered this movie and decided to see it. It is hard to believe how he took people’s life savings knowing what that would mean if he lost everything and, in the end, he did lose all their money.
The film begins right at the point where Madoff knows his time is up and is trying to “take care” of everyone before he turns himself in to the FBI. He confesses to his sons what he did and they decide to turn their father in. The movie centers around an interview with Madoff where he tells the story of the scheme taking us from present and past as he talks about what he did. We see the effect this has on the family and the inevitable question: did they know or simply trusted this man so much they could not see any signs of wrongdoing. I don’t know, but it is possible that they just did not know and they paid a higher price than Madoff, I think.
I knew of the scheme and Madoff, like I said, because of a course I’m taking. But I did not expect the part of his sons and just how they were affected. It is true as one of his sons said in the film, it is hard to see them as victims because they lived a charmed life and Madoff’s victims lost more, but their lives were also altered, and the constant suspicion that they knew and people going after them to get back what their father stole, it could not have been easy. But this is the way the films portray it, we will never know if they really knew or not. But I did not know that one of his sons killed himself and that is sad. This film we can see just what greed can actually do, here we see how it ruined a family and many people’s lives.
Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer are both great in the movie, but the cast over all give great performances.