Lords of Scam, or Les rois de l’arnaque, is a crime documentary film directed by Guillaume Nicloux and is 105 minutes long.
Netflix describes the series as:
This documentary traces the rise and crash of scammers who conned the EU carbon quota system and pocketed millions before turning on one another.
– Lords of Scam review does not contain spoilers –
First off, I am thankful that it is a movie and not a huge series. For those of you, like me, who aren’t really into financial scams and the like, the length is a God-given.
Lords of Scam heavily focuses on Mardoche Mouly, who just got released from prison. He says he’s thankful for the prison time, however, as the film starts you’ll be confused as to whether this man feels any remorse for what he has possibly done. 7 years in French prison isn’t an easy thing, I am sure. So, why did he go to prison? Well, that, too, is a bit confusing. We meet his buddies and go through his day with him. Mouly discusses his connections to these people and their childhood memories. However, one thing is still up in the air – who is this man and what did he do?!
The movie slowly gets into the crux of the story within the next few minutes as well as Mouly’s very entitled behaviour. I am unsure whether this is supposed to be recreation or whether he is like that, but either way, it’s kinda annoying. The thing is, Lords of Scam’s glacial pacing at the beginning is a huge turn-off. It takes its sweet time to let us know about what he did. Rather, we spend so much time watching him flaunting his riches.
Another point is that Mouly and the others all start pointing fingers at each other. All of these people were part of the same scam. However, all of them act as if they are the wronged party. Although it’s hilarious watching thieves fall out among each other, it’s also a bit annoying. The bickering can get on your nerves.
Lords of Scam packs so much information in its tiny runtime that it’s a bit hard to keep up after a while. The documentary has a lot going on; on one hand, there’s Mouly and his associates constantly bickering and on the other hand, we learn about the Kyoto Protocol and the melting icebergs of Greenland. The thing to point out here, for those who don’t feel strongly about financial scams and don’t know anything about the market, it’s going to be a bit heavy for you. There is a lot of technical talks, and none of them is the easiest to understand.
That being said, Lords of Scam does pick up a bit of pace after a while, mostly after a lot of the background is discussed at first. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not fast-paced by any means, but it gets somewhat better after a while. In spite of that though, the movie feels very boring. As in, it doesn’t make you feel any way other than annoyance towards some characters. The scam is one of the most shocking, but the way everything is narrated is extremely lacklustre.
By lacklustre, I mean that, for a movie that focuses on a financial scam of this magnitude, you’d expect the narrative to be fast-paced. But everything about this movie is slow. It creates the background on which the movie stands solidly, however, it cannot make it interesting enough for us to notice. If anything, you’d want to jump forward to greener pastures. At least the background music goes with the story and how it is narrated.
Summing up: Lords of Scam
Lords of Scam is a comparatively slow-paced and “calm” documentary on one of the biggest scams of France’s history. The movie creates a solid foundation for it to stand on, but on the way, loses its fun and interesting streaks. Anyway, for financial buffs out there, this can just be an interesting watch.
Lords of Scam is streaming on Netflix.