It’s going to take a lot of booze to erase the memory of a topless Robert De Niro chatting inanely about smegma in Dirty Grandpa, a film that both horrified and depressed audiences. How could De Niro, arguably the finest actor of his generation and responsible for a decent amount of the cast iron iconic moments in the history of cinema, have agreed to this?! Most concluded that he’d essentially given up on his career, taking whatever easy job came along in order to fund his pet projects. But now there’s a faint glimmer of light on the horizon, courtesy of this promising trailer for upcoming HBO original, The Wizard of Lies.
Directed by Barry Levinson, the film chronicles the collapse of Bernie Madoff’s financial empire, showing what was going behind the scenes as the investors realized to their horror that Madoff’s investments were nonexistent and that hundreds of millions of dollars of their money had disappeared forever. It makes for a contemporary cautionary tale about deception, the illusory safety of financial institutions, and (above all else) greed.
De Niro looks uncannily like Madoff in this trailer, showing the cracks beginning to form in his pinstriped facade. He’ll be ably supported by Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff, who became unwittingly entangled in her husband’s deception. Purely in terms of imagery, this looks great – my favourite shot being Madoff illuminated by a roomful of ‘fire’ screensavers making him look appropriately diabolical.
We’ll find out whether or not this is a true return to form from De Niro when The Wizard of Lies debuts on HBO on May 20th. Judging by this trailer though, it looks like a date to save.