Documentaries are so niche these days that filmmakers are now championned for honing in on incessant detail to make their point. Jeff Prosserman spends an hour and a half drawing out the intense testimonial of Harry Markopolos, the analyst that tried to convince the US government for almost a decade of the Bernie Madoff fraud. We let Prosserman do it, simply because we know what a huge deal this was and how many people were tragically and irreversibly ripped off. A warning to those already be-ticketed for Chasing Madoff on Tuesday night: while the stories from victims of the Ponzi scheme, inserted into the reel seemingly at random, do up the genuine emotion factor, generally the film is less documentary, more dramatization with the real finance guys now recruited as pseudo-actors playing, well, themselves. Cue millionaire nerds in suits that aren’t theirs, imagery that could’ve very well been lifted from Season 2 of Damages and lots of hand models repeatedly circling “Bernie” with a red pen. It’s a heart-pounding story, just told under bad lighting. The intercutting of the media response, though, when the news finally broke in 2006, gives credence to the project, as does the text before the credits telling us about the horrific fallout for Madoff’s son. Go for the theatrics, not the enlightenment.
North American Premiere:
Tuesday, May 10th at 5:30 p.m. at the Bloor Cinema
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs May 7 – 15. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit tjff.com.
Top image: A scene from Chasing Madoff. Courtesy TJFF.