Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by
Jeff Prosserman's riveting documentary takes a question that haunted the Bernie Madoff scandal - how did he fool everyone for so long? - and answers it with a decisive "He didn't."
In a sense, this is not a financial thriller so much as a financial mystery. Which gets a bit lost in the movie's stylized presentation.
His sorry tale is worth re-telling, if only to piece together the connective tissue between government, big business and, to a lesser degree, the media institutions that propped up what most insiders knew or suspected was a massive fraud for years before Madoff got his comeuppance.
Chasing Madoff is mostly that sort of movie, the kind you make when all you've seen is other movies and television shows about crime, when you want someone to know what you can do with a juicy story that takes some effort to ruin.
Director Jeff Prosserman's retelling borders on reprehensible, as he attempts to heighten an already powerful tale with a parade of needless bells and whistles, from flashy camera work to melodramatic reenactments. What a shame, because the story is truly astonishing.
Chasing Madoff is a useful reminder that all is far from well with our financial institutions, which continue to lobby for less regulation rather than more. But the human element of the film is so weirdly distracting it often deflects from its primary target.
The unintended take-away is that you can grasp why the Securities and Exchange Commission - terribly negligent though it was in investigating Madoff - might dismiss the claims of someone so theatrically odd.
The film is frustratingly uneven in its presentation.
Village Voice
Too bad Prosserman can't trust his material: Overloading the screen with aesthetic dross, the director offers up tiresome symbolic imagery of blood-soaked hands, burning money, and out-of-focus documents. Rather than amping up the intensity, these fast-cut sequences prove disastrously distracting.
Slant Magazine
The fawning personal-life segments are overdone, and undermine the film's compelling reportage about Madoff's ruse and downfall.

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