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Champion Liar

The Wizard of Lies
Regissør: Barry Levinson.
(USA)

When the huge fraud was revealed, everyone around Madoff claimed to be ignorant. How was that possible?

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

There are only two reasons to endure for two hours with acclaimed film director Barry Levinson's version of financier Bernie Madoff's gigantic financial fraud (a pyramid scheme for staggering 60 billion): The first is the acting performance of Robert De Niro as the narcissistic and cold-blooded fraudster, respectively. Bernie Madoff, and Michelle Pfeiffer as his round-hearted and gullible spouse Ruth. As expected, they make a brilliant effort. In an otherwise tame attempt to portray the human side of Madoff in the context of a family drama, which completely boils down to the cynical backdrop of the financial world, the two live up to the saying that quality never goes out of fashion.

Pfeiffer's "comeback" to the big canvas will hopefully not be her last; her balance between "faithful wife", unsuspecting victim and mastery and spoiled celebrity queen is both masterful and believable.

Sensational ignorance. The second reason to endure this journey of narcissism, self-loathing and self-deception is a brief and explosive scene as representatives of the US Stock Exchange (SEC) and the Federal Police (FBI) confront Madoff's sons. Authorities believe the sons could not possibly have been unaware of their father's giant pyramid game, which was going on right in front of them. Put under pressure by the female representative of the SEC, the subdued son Mark eventually loses his temper and exclaims the question we all want answers to: The seeming lack of knowledge of the financial elite's ravages and looting in one of the biggest fraud in Wall Street history. "You're asking me how I didn't know? Well, I'm asking you. You are the FBI. You are the SEC. You investigated him before. So, I'm asking you: How the fuck did you not know? ”

This exchange of words takes place early in the film, giving rise to the hope of an exciting and necessary examination and clarification of the banking and financial world's shadow pages. But unfortunately it stops here. It is still the cash-strapped backers of Wall Street who finance and "own" Hollywood. Perhaps that is why Madoff in this format is presented as a "lone wolf" with a distorted relationship with an otherwise spotless financial environment. The settlement of a dysfunctional and corrupt corporation and its associates, the career politicians in Washington, thus fails. Instead, we are taken on a hike in the self-indulgent and disturbed Madoff's half-hearted settlement with himself, while his immediate family slowly but surely perishes. Therein lies director Levinson's record boom; a totally absent-minded willingness to explore the reasons why the deceiver Madoff was allowed to stay as long as he did.

It is still the cash-strapped backers of Wall Street who finance and "own" Hollywood.

As the film progresses and the settlement with Wall Street fails, we follow the Madoff family's downturn very closely. A nasty story – discussing the public's relentless treatment of Madoff's circle of friends. All moral scruples are torn away by the thesis guilty by association, and Madoff's sons Mark and David are crucified by a bloodthirsty press. An imprisoned Madoff stays away from the cell, apparently with stoic calm, and with a recurring need to apologize for his actions. According to Madoff himself, he has done everything one can ask of a father to protect his wife and children by being alone about the wrongs, and the scams of unsuspecting others are explained by "they were all greedy" in the sense that they had to thank themselves . "Do you think I'm a sociopath," the character asks Madoff. The answer is as self-evident and trivial as the question of why the focus on the banking and financial markets remains important and unanswered. No matter how good actor performance Pfeiffer and De Niro deliver, the film suffers greatly in the absence of a settlement with the political elite and money power.

All moral scruples are ruthlessly ripped off by the thesis guilty by association, and sons Mark and David are crucified by a bloodthirsty press.

Bleak prospects. All value creation over the last 30-40 years is built on exactly the same load as Madoff's pyramid scheme (see previous articles in Ny Tid); that is, money printing, credit and debt. When this debt is about to eat up the pensions and the future of future generations, it is easy to agree with Madoff that "they were looking for a scapegoat". Of course, that does not excuse Madoff, but it does provide a much-needed perspective that this film lacks: the problematization of the elected officials' irresponsible attitude to central banks' money printing – and, not least, the banking and financial institutions' ability to issue without limit with credit to enrich shareholders and management, at the expense of the rest of society. When the next financial crisis breaks the insolvent European and American banking system, our "welfare state" will also follow suit. Then we should keep in mind that today's social economy and our prosperity are built on the same lie and self-deception that Madoff seeks to explain away with "the inherent greed of man and system."

Just as Madoff's pyramid scheme eventually caught up with him, today's debt-based welfare system will catch up with the rest of us. There is only one output on a fiat money printing system, as the world has today. Like all pyramid schemes over the last 5 years, this too will collapse, and sooner rather than later. Then the question to the politicians becomes: "How the fuck did you Note know? "

Hans Eirik Olav
Olav has a long time from the financial world behind him.

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