Friday, August 26, 2011

Jeff Prosserman's new doc CHASING MADOFF will make you angry, very angry

Shockingly enough, CHASING MADOFF is a more important film, even, than Inside Job. Not a better film, mind you -- Charles Ferguson knows what's he doing very well -- but a movie that is more timely, clearly focused and so anger-provoking that I think the American public (should it bother to see the film, of course) might actually be able to get its mind far enough around what has happened to work itself into a frenzy and finally demand some action from our so-called leaders.

producer Jeff Prosserman (at left) chooses some pretty intensive, melodramatic graphics to begin his film -- blood, money, an apocalyptic fire -- but it turns out these are all appropriate in their way. (One player here comes to a bloody, suicidal end, and I am not talking about Madoff's son.) But Prosserman also piles on some would-be suspense at question-able times: For all his sleazy, criminal activity Madoff was never known to be a violent man, out for blood.

Yet our hero, the documentary's leading man Harry Markopolos, evidently felt his and his family's lives were in danger. Perhaps from the extended members of the Madoff business family that made up this vast and particularly nasty conspiracy but certainly not from Bernie or his own extended family.  And make no mistake, the Madoff ponzi scheme was indeed a conspiracy, entered into by major American and international businesses and, it would seem, our own government, that protected it for far too long and, as usual, at the expense of investors, rather than those who took their investments.

If you followed the Madoff debacle (Bernie is shown above) at all, you will have heard of Mr. Markopolos and how he tried, for nearly a decade, to alert the proper authorties to the fraud going on. What you will learn from this riveting movie is how he did this, what happened, who helped (and hindered) him and why. His team is made up of some very interesting, even charismatic people, and his antagonists turn out to come from an unexpected venue. In fact, the SEC make probably the most hissable villains in any film this decade. By the end of these fast-moving 91 minutes, as angry as you may be at Mr. Madoff, you'll probably be ready to change the film's title to Chasing The SEC. Oh, wait: That'll be the sequel, once we thow out the current crop of sleazy politicians and vote in a new crowd. Oh, wait some more: That'll never happen until all the voters, rather than only the rich and coporate, can elect their representatives.
Chasing Madoff, from the Cohen Media Group, opens today in New York and elsewhere around the country. For a complete listing of theaters and playdates, click on the Cohen link above, then click on the film itself and then on THEATERS AND PLAYDATES.

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