It took all of five minutes for financial analyst Harry Markopolos to uncover Bernie Madoff's $18 billion Ponzi scheme ... and 10 years for the justice system to finally bring Madoff down.
That mystifying, infuriating disconnect is at the center of 'Chasing Madoff,' a documentary by director Jeff Prosserman, which has its North American premiere at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on Tuesday, May 10.
Based on Markopolos's bestseller 'No One Would Listen,' the film unfolds the saga through the author's eyes, as he and a handful of colleagues work tirelessly to expose the fraud while their findings fall on deaf ears -- both in the media and at the Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters. That Madoff was eventually brought to justice by the recession (sort of) and not Markopolos's dogged whistle-blowing robs Prosserman's documentary of a rousing payoff. But 'Chasing Madoff' is an interesting addendum to a story that dominated global news coverage in 2009, painting a tragic and enraging portrait of a man who knew all the answers but, as the title says, no one would listen.
The documentary is ill-served at times by its almost singular focus on Markopolos. After-the-fact media coverage and heart-wrenching interviews with individual investors wiped out by the scam are engrossing, but spliced in seemingly at random. And as Markopolos's testimonial grows increasingly paranoid, the noir-ish reenactments of him loading guns and checking his minivan for nonexistent bombs are more unsettling than thrilling.
'Chasing Madoff' has its North American premiere on Tuesday, May 10, at 5:30PM at the Bloor Cinema, as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. For more info or to purchase tickets, check here.