“Nothing about this case was ever believable. It was always the twilight zone in the Madoff case, because every time you saw something, it never made sense.” Set against an abstracting black background and addressing the camera, Harry Markopolos looks like he’s had experience in that zone. Even as Markopolos went repeatedly over 10 years to the SEC with evidence that Bernie Madoff was stealing from people, no one took notice: papers were filed and ignored. Based on Markopolos’ book, No One Would Listen, Jeff Prosserman’s smart, weird, provocative documentary makes its subjectivity a virtue. Chasing Madoff shows Markopolos’ self-certainty (bolstered by his colleagues at Rampart Investment Management, who did believe him) and also his growing paranoia; the film not only shows it, but lets you feel a bit of it too, because, in Markopolos’ world, it makes too much sense. When he reenacts his concerns in deep shadows cocking a gun and glowering, the scenes are at once sensational, nutty, and strangely affecting. Markopolos’ outrage is also supported by interviews with Madoff’s victims, identified here by their Madoff numbered accounts. Along with Markopolos, they voice the film’s underlying argument: Madoff was not deviant, he was exemplary. His system depends on silence, on insularity, and on repeated looks the other way. The film insists that you look, that you feel uncomfortable, that you worry.
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// Notes from the Road
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