The Wizard of Lies

The Wizard of Lies

Blu-ray Disc - 2017
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Dramatizes the events leading up to Bernie Madoff's arrest for a Ponzi scheme which defrauded his clients of billions of dollars.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, HBO Home Entertainment,, [2017]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (133 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
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Opinion

From Library Staff

Robert de Niro is nominated for his performance as Bernie Madoff. The book, written by Diane B. Henriques, is also available.


From the critics


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m
maipenrai
Nov 19, 2018

I believe this film was very well done. Ironically I had been thinking about the issue that Madoff addresses to his interviewer at the end of the film. He is upset because the New York Times has labelled him a psychopath. He asks " Do you think I am a sociopath?" Yes, Bernie, I do. Some of the prominent characteristics of sociopaths / psychopaths are: lying, manipulation, the ability to deceive, feelings of grandiosity and callousness toward their victims, regret for being caught not for their crimes, lack of empathy, superficial charm, and good intelligence. Ding!! Ding!! Ding!! He was not even capable of bonding with his children or grandchildren. I feel sadness for many of Madoff's victims - Bernie blamed them for losing their money because of greed. This may have been true of some or many. What I did not realize and found very distressing was that one of my heroes was a victim: Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor. On the advise of successful people they trusted, Wiesel's charity lost millions and he and his wife personally lost their life savings. The Innocence Project also lost most of its assets. Madoff's son committed suicide. The number of other individuals who did the same may never be known. And Bernie's concern - he thought the NYT had treated him badly. An almost textbook study in the amorality of an individual. Recommended. Kristi & Abby Tabby

p
PHAERTE1
Oct 21, 2018

Well worth watching. Story was realistic. Performances were very good.

f
firefly5
Oct 07, 2018

Robert De Nero is perfect in his role as Bernie Madoff. I thought this story was very well told. In this movie Bernie Madoff asks "Do you think I am a siocopath"? My answer to that question would be "Yes". As the story is told, Mr. Madoff does not seem to understand the enormity of his crimes. Stealing money is not a victimless crime. Madoff is responsible for his son Mark taking his life. How many people's lives has he ruined with his deception?

m
movie20
Sep 02, 2018

A well told story. Well acted.

g
gingin1972
Aug 11, 2018

Fairly good movie great acting!

b
BONNIE S SAUNDERS
Jul 08, 2018

This is a mesmerizing film about Bernie Madoff who lived lasciviously on other people's money. Even after he was sentenced to more than 100 years in jail, for his Ponzi scheme he blamed those who invested. "They were stupid, they just wanted to make money"
In an interesting the thread the New York Times reporter who wrote the book that the movie was based on, played herself in the film. One of his sons committed suicide with the baby and the dog in the other room. The other son died of cancer in 2014, and his wife stopped speaking to her husband and lived a quiet life, serving others. A must see.

o
Obsolete
Jul 05, 2018

The only way that I feel is appropriate to describe this film is first by the quality of the acting. It is simply amazing and first rate. That is not to say Vin Diesel style, or Meryl Streep. I have followed Robert Deniro & Michelle Phieffer in other films. I did not think of the characters from the beginning as anything more than who they were supposed to be. Extraordinary accomplishment for any type of film. I was engrossed by the story and followed it to it's gruesome conclusion. Never before was this story so human to me.
If you're looking for Star Wars, it's not here. The rewards are quite different. The life before, the pain after, all is quite believable. I can't say that it has been often that I could say that and ended up involved enough to finish a film that's only true fluorish is it's art for retelling a disaster that involves not explosions but human lives.

m
mikeedm
May 06, 2018

Very well done, acting, script, much better than I expected.

i
imagenel
Apr 30, 2018

A timely reminder of the 2008 financial debacle in which Ponzi Godfather Madoff was a major persona non grata. Also an intimate portrait of the personal tragedy that befell Madoff after he was indicted: a fragile trophy wife (Pfeiffer), two Trump-like sons, and all the pawns on his chessboard. Deftly directed by Barry Levinson with a cameo by NYT author Diana Henriques playing herself.

m
misatim
Apr 30, 2018

this film is very sympathetic to the extremely wealthy family that lived off of the money of others. In the film they couldn't believe their lives must change cause they didn't do anything. Their selfishness is overwhelming as their demands. It is sad that they couldn't and wouldn't take responsibility for their role. The sons couldn't even get their own jobs, but had to work for Daddy! The wife never did anything but be selfish. So when the life of privilege crashed, the eldest can't even pull himself together to care for his own child and once again shows his selfishness. The film wants you to feel sorry for them but knowing they destroyed or lead to the deaths of others, I just can't. In one scene the viewer sees a lovely Xmas on the TV bringing a family together yet this family is Jewish, and don't celebrate Xmas. The director tries to manipulate the viewer to be sympathetic, very much like the psychopath does in the story.

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i
imagenel
Apr 30, 2018

Do you think I am a sociopath?

j
jimg2000
Apr 16, 2018

Played by the real reporter/writer:
My name is Diana Henriques. As an investigating reporter for the "New York Times," I had been covering the Bernie Madoff scandal from the day it began. After months of requests and correspondence, I was finally able to sit down and interview Bernie Madoff on August 24th, 2010. Until today, his only visitor apart from lawyers has been his wife. He has not answered any independent questions about his crime except when standing in a courtroom responding to a judge. On those occasions, he seemed stiff, almost rehearsed. But in our conversation, he seemed relaxed, unfailingly candid, earnest, and trustworthy. That is his talent and his curse. That is what enabled him to pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme on record.
===
Well, but these people, you know, they had a little greed in them, too. There was a little bit of, you know... look, you know, and they didn't wanna look too hard. They looked just far enough. So they're accomplices in some way, too.

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