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Netflix’s ‘Monster of Wall Street’ Is a Stomach-Churning Evisceration of Bernie Madoff

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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, the crypto mogul currently awaiting extradition to the U.S., appears to be the finance industry’s latest villainous fraudster. That would make him a kindred spirit to Bernie Madoff, the greedy, conniving, heartless crook who bilked clients out of tens of billions of dollars over the course of his Wall Street career, leaving investors in ruins and his own family in shambles. Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, director Joe Berlinger’s four-part Netflix docuseries (Jan. 4), is the stomach-churning, blood-boiling definitive account of the infamous financier, recounting his Ponzi-scheming rancidness in exacting detail. It’s the feel-bad series with which to ring in the new year.

Berlinger has made himself one of Netflix’s top true-crime producers, and with Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, he falls back on his worst habit: staging dramatic recreations that unnecessarily tip the action toward melodrama. There’s little reason to have actors playing Madoff and his associates in dialogue-free sequences designed to accompany interview snippets, and the fact that the finale depicts said thespians donning their makeup and hairpieces—thereby underscoring that they, like Madoff, are phonies—does little to justify their employment. They’re grating affectations, and they stand out all the more strikingly for being part of an otherwise thorough and compelling step-by-step inquiry into the doc’s notorious subject.

Led by interviews with Wizard of Lies author Diana B. Henriques, Madoff Talks author Jim Campbell, The New York Times and CNBC reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, as well as FBI agents, Madoff employees, and some of the myriad victims of his scam, Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street is an exhaustive recap of one of America’s most heinous frauds. Madoff was busted on Dec. 11, 2008, for operating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, which totaled $64 billion at the time of his arrest—except that, as with everything else about his ruse, that number was a lie invented by Madoff. In truth, he took into his covert investment advisory business approximately $19 billion, precisely none of which he actually invested, despite claiming he was doing just that to the hedge funds, high-rollers, and average citizens who had sent him money.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: Netflix’s ‘Monster of Wall Street’ Is a Stomach-Churning Evisceration of Bernie Madoff

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