When you hear the name Bernie Madoff, you probably immediately think about a white-collar criminal who lost his clients billions of dollars (an estimated 18 of them). The name Marc Dreier might not be known, but Madoff is the reason you might not know him. Only shortly after Marc Dreier was arrested everyone started looking at Madoff, but Dreier also was caught for financial crimes (also hundreds of millions). He did so with his law firm and over the years managed to get more money then he should have by fraudulent behaviour. The risks he was taking were getting bigger and bigger and because of the financial crisis he was finally caught. This documentary was shot when he was under house arrest awaiting his trial and has him talking about what he did and how he feels about it.
It is not often that as a viewer you get access to someone who has done something like this. There’s the newsblurb where you will hear the name and what he has done and that’s it. You’ll quickly judge them and watch the next news item. Unraveled has you spending its running time together with Dreier as he talks about what he has done, why he did it and his thoughts on his possible judgement. Whether or not you agree with him, it is very interesting to hear his story and get into his mind. It shows a human side, a man with a family, who knows he won’t be able to share those important moments with his children. When he’s in his home he isn’t allowed to have any communication devices and has to live a very basic life (in a very expensive apartment). The only thing which has been with him through everything, is his dog.
Looking at the score on IMDB (the documentary gets a 4.8 with 157 votes) I can understand people scoring the documentary low because they don’t agree with this man having a platform to say what he wants to. People want to see him as a heartless man who should be locked up for life, a way of revenge. If you take a step back and just watch it to see how a man is driven to such things, then you’ll actually see a side you wouldn’t think about. Visually the film mostly shows him telling his story (with some animation to liven it up) and him interacting with his lawyers and son. When he is finally judged in the film I do think he got what he deserved (partly), but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to what he has to say, because no matter how bad the crime, there is usually a way which makes it understandable even if you don’t agree. Unraveled manages to do that.