Ponzi Scheme. Billions. Bad Karma.
‘The Wizard of Lies’, is a sad and dreary account of how karma pays back almost instantly in this case where a stinking rich man is left to rot in a prison cell, while his family and the people who invested in his firm, are destroyed in the outside world.
‘The Wizard of Lies’, a Barry Levinson’s TV movie, set around financial crimes amidst economic crisis, engages you for the most part with the ever cryptic Robert De Niro, keeps you guessing till the last frame. Understandably, portraying a character of a man who made a few billions by cheating people a lot more than that, he keeps his cards to his chest. In all the scenes where is with someone he has to be on guard like the scenes with the lady who interviews him in the prison, or the scene where he is desperate to raise a few hundred million in a party, or the scene towards to the end in the prison, where his calls go unanswered, and he is all alone…Robert De Niro does not flinch from the character.
At the same time his enacting throws many questions back to us…as to how does it could have felt like to make money at other’s expense, build a phoney world and when all that…that huge edifice starts crumbling, he is left for gasping beneath it. We get a taste (just a taste) of the vintage (and obsessive) De Niro, in two scenes—one with the waiter about a dirty plate (like the berries scene in ‘Casino’) and soon after insisting his son to sample the lobster above everything else. Infact, one can spot a few similarities between ‘Casino’ and this movie. In the former, he ends up where he started and here, the prison, he should have ended up with.
This movie is a good watch for anyone who is a fan of Robert De Niro and don’t mind a bit of financial mumbo jumbo.