The latest film about infamous swindler Bernard Madoff, whose decades-long Ponzi scheme cost clients more than $17 billion, ends with a question.
“Do you think I’m a sociopath?” Madoff, played by Robert De Niro, asks journalist Diana B. Henriques in a prison interview.
“The Wizard of Lies,” premiering on Time Warner Inc’s HBO on Saturday ahead of an international rollout, leaves the question unanswered. Almost a decade after Madoff was convicted of masterminding the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history, the filmmakers put their focus on the devastating consequences for his family.
“This is a dark tragedy of a man’s betrayal of his family,” said director Barry Levinson. “This was a man who ultimately destroyed his family, and the financial lives of thousands and thousands of people.”
“It’s not for us to decide is he or isn’t he (a sociopath), because if he were, so what? It doesn’t help anything,” said Levinson.
Madoff, 79, is serving a 150-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2009 to multiple charges of fraud.
“I don’t know if I ever really came to understand him,” said De Niro, who is seen as an Emmy front-runner for his enigmatic portrayal of Madoff.—Reuters