“The Laundromat” – all is not what it seems – Netflix (Oct 18)
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Academy Award winner Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world’s wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming — and very well-dressed — founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Academy Award winner Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Golden Globe nominee Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen’s predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world’s corrupt financial system.
The quirky commentary and banter between Banderas and Oldman as Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, carries the film well, although in the end the plot is convoluted and confusing, jumping between various story lines with what appears to be no rhyme or reason. While based on real incidents (Panama Papers), the way the story plays out is anything but real. There are too many characters (and cameos) that aren’t even any real time to develop, and as fast as they appear on screen, they disappear and never return just as quickly.
For all it’s worth, it does bring light to the still ongoing issue of off-shore investments, the over compensation on insurance companies, who insure each other, and the sleazy dealings of individuals both near and far away from North America. Could such catastrophes happy again, are these illicit dealings still happening, do we really know what’s real or fake nowadays? These are all questions to ponder while watching, and the most surprising outcome comes at the end when Meryl Streep reveals all is not what it seems.
Apparently some people have been upset that the film is being released at all.
Watch factor – if you’re bored with nothing else to do, or enjoy seeing a bunch of big name actors drop in for a short appearance with nothing much to give by way of dialogue or acting.
Laundromat is based on “Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite” by Jake Bernstein. Directed by: Steven Soderbergh, Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, Melissa Rauch, Jeff Michalski, Jane Morris, Robert Patrick, David Schwimmer, Cristela Alonzo, Larry Clarke, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Nonso Anozie, Larry Wilmore, Jessica Allain, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rosalind Chao, Kunjue Li, Ming Lo, with James Cromwell and Sharon Stone
Global Launch on Netflix: October 18
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.