ONLY THOSE YOU TRUST CAN TRULY BETRAY YOU.
After the ABC miniseries Madoff (2016) came this HBO movie that also paints a portrait of the admired Wall Street tycoon who turned out to have built a Ponzi scheme over decades, the greatest financial fraud in U.S. history. We learn how Madoff orchestrated his scheme and how his sons turned against him when the whole thing blew up, even though his wife Ruth found it impossible to abandon him after 50 years of marriage. Robert De Niro is excellent as Bernie; he’s an enigma, but through scenes where he manipulates clients and tries to handle his family, we get an idea of how he operated. Well written and staged, with a dark allure that draws you in.
2017-U.S. Made for TV. 133 min. Color. Produced by Joseph E. Iberti. Directed by Barry Levinson. Teleplay: Samuel Baum, Sam Levinson, John Burnham Schwartz. Book: Diana Henriques. Cast: Robert De Niro (Bernard Madoff), Michelle Pfeiffer (Ruth Madoff), Alessandro Nivola (Mark Madoff), Hank Azaria, Nathan Darrow, Sydney Gayle.
Trivia: In the interview scenes with Madoff in prison, Henriques plays herself.
Last word: “It’s the job of the director to shape it and bring all of the other elements together. [De Niro] certainly seems comfortable enough with me, over the years, and he understands the nature of the process. It’s not like he’s over your shoulder, all the time, in any regard. Casting Diana Henriques, who’s the writer that we use as the person that interviews Bernie, was Bob’s idea. We met her and we both felt that it could work out quite well. He’s got good instincts. It’s a great working relationship, in that regard.” (Levinson on working with De Niro as both lead actor in and executive producer of the film, Collider)