Harry Markopolos, 'is no hero' - these are his words.
Having served in the military, and experiencing the ambiguity and moral failure of contemporary life, I too struggle with questions of 'right and wrong' in the context of business.
This documentary describes a kind of man that is rare these days - quiet, thoughtful, loving, good and brave. If you have given up on the American business man and believe that the Wallstreet crowd is rotten to the core, then know this - Harry Markopolos exists, his story is true and we can hope there are more men and women like him.
The documentary itself is different from others I have viewed on the 'Madoff Affair'. I, personally, have a deep interest in the macroeconomic and systemic failures that were background to the Madoff incident, but the Madoff story is part of the general failure of American finance in the 2 decades that led up to 2008 - and, frankly, this same corruption persists today.
A core question, which the film keeps in the background throughout, is the following: 'why didn't anyone at the SEC take action?'. This question is difficult, because we have been led to believe, in the modern era that 'regulation and regulatory agencies keep us safe'. But I suspect the answer is more obvious and frightening: Madoff was an extraordinary and evil 'shark' in waters filled with criminals and 'sharks'. If Madoff's scheme was a moral outrage, then what do we say of Goldman-Sachs and its 'guarantee' that allowed Greece to enter the EUROZONE in the early 2000's? I digress, but I fear the reason for the SEC ignoring Mr. Markopolos is because ANY dent in the presumed 'genius' and 'professionalism' of WALLSTREET threatened all of the crooks.
Where this story is strongest is in fusing the 'character story' of Mr. Markopolos with the 'technical' aspects, but for wonks there is little to no 'depth' in the technical explanation. The fact that this documentary stays a bit above the technical side of the story is no weakness - there are many films which cover these core financial topics and do it well. But, I think we needed a story about men like Mr. Markopolos, and Mr. Casey and the others who assisted and kept the faith.
Harry Markopolos is no hero - he is simply more than that. He is a man of conscience and action in a world that is slipping towards darkness.