Chasing Madoff Review
By David Kempler
Markopolos vs. the World
In this corner, Harry Markopolos, the whistleblower and protector of all that we hold as good. In this corner, Bernie Madoff, our current poster boy of evil and corruption. Cue the hisses and boos. Director Jeff Prosserman has a clear-cut hero and villain and there is little room to deviate off that track. What he does do, though, is show those of us who had not yet realized it, that this is not really about what one man did to bring so much pain to so many. It's about Madoff's being encouraged to steal from so many by
so many, including those that were supposed to be in charge of keeping us safe from people like Madoff.
"Chasing Madoff" is partially based on the book, "No One Would Listen", where Markopolos spells out his decade-long attempt to bring down Bernie. It is pretty astounding and discouraging to think that the Security and Exchange Commission not only did not stop him, but that they had the evidence dropped into their laps repeatedly by Mr. Markopolos. It is difficult to come away with any conclusion other than the SEC was part of the scandal. They were not just unwittingly duped. They were part of the crime. That is hammered home when we find out that the members of the SEC who testified in Congress resigned and found work among the murkiness of the crooked business world that they were supposed to be monitoring.
Prosserman makes his case and presents Markopolos as Superman, minus some powers. Our almost-superhero is portrayed as Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart all rolled into one as he fights for the good and decent people who are powerless to stand up to the system. While I believe that Markopolos was a great crusader for truth and justice, at times he becomes almost too good. He is a reluctant ah-shucks
kind of hero to boot. I wanted to know a bit more about him to help flesh him out.
"Chasing Madoff" is a powerful tale of corruption, but Prosserman presents it so stylistically at times, that it almost felt like fiction. Shot in black-and-white, with low lighting, and a general feeling of unclean, it often feels like a television show, especially when it does cheesy re-enactments, starring some of the real players. The director had enough meat that he didn't need to descend into film noir, but despite my stated reservations, the truth of the Madoff scandal is odious enough on its own to make it worthwhile.