Robert De Niro movie about Madoff shortchanges viewers

Y ou’d by no means be capable to convey to Barry Levinson directed this HBO movie about the fall of the Home of Madoff.

Helmed by the Academy Award-winner (“Rain Man”) and dependent on the e book by Diana B. Henriques, “The Wizard of Lies” plays like a single of all those Investigation Discovery specials, albeit with prestige actors — Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer headlining as disgraced investment supervisor Bernie Madoff and wife Ruth.

The movie jumps erratically across the years to show how Madoff’s arrest in 2008 for a $65 billion Ponzi plan ruined his family members, depicted right here as substantially victims as all those who trustworthy Madoff and dropped their fortunes.

Yet it’s as if you are observing the get the job done of a 1st-time director who read about his craft off a flash card.

Soon after Bernie confesses culpability, Ruth complains — twice about becoming in the dim.

She is sitting down in the dim as she complains.

Bernie and Ruth attempt a “nice” suicide on Christmas Eve 2008 — by overdosing on Ambien.

Bernie’s drug-induced aspiration, set to Judy Garland singing “Have Oneself a Merry Small Christmas,” turns downright Dickensian with visits from a youthful boy, his developed sons and an indignant mob of shoppers — Christmas Past, Present and Long term, in circumstance anybody could miss out on the apparent.

These are just a couple of the more egregious illustrations.

“Wizard” isn’t the 1st Television set movie to explore the Madoffs. The ABC miniseries “Madoff” last yr, with Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner in the guide roles, was more polished, but Bernie’s character and justifications remained more elusive.

As this two-furthermore-hour movie progresses, De Niro (who does double responsibility as an govt producer) sinks less than the skin of the rogue financier and displays that the white-collar felony was as substantially a gangster as the protagonists in “The Godfather” and “GoodFellas.”

Bernie wears a polite, just about chastened face when working with the general public. Privately, he’s a foul-mouthed tyrant, berating his developed sons to submission, selecting even what a single ought to eat. At a single stage, he drives his 8-yr-old granddaughter to tears. He’s dismissive of all those who entrusted him with their daily life cost savings and are now destitute.

“These people experienced a tiny greed in them, also,” he claims.

The movie is a bit excess fat. No a single demands the prolonged social gathering riff from Hank Azaria (“Brockmire”) as Madoff’s proper-hand-gentleman Frank DiPascali comparing woman parts to automobiles. It looks to go on for several hours.

Pfeiffer sinks into her job as a socialite surprised to be shunned, even if also substantially of her dialogue is just also on stage to be genuine. Alessandro Nivola has some affecting moments as oldest son Mark, as the media feeding frenzy following his father’s arrest drives him to a terrible choice.

When Bernie last but not least asks irrespective of whether an attentive reporter thinks he’s a sociopath, there is no require for an respond to.

The movie has previously clobbered you around the head with the apparent.

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