Imagine a bad day in your life. Something terrible happens and after your share of grieving, you decide to move on. But you cannot, because the only thing that can even partly make up for your loss is denied to you. That can be frustrating, can’t it?
The Laundromat on Netflix is about a woman Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) who loses her husband Joe (James Cromwell) in an unfortunate boat accident. When the boat company reaches out to the insurance guys, they are told that the insurance expired before the accident, which is untrue. Later on, we see that the man the boat company bought insurance from is under investigation and isn’t permitted to sell insurance.
Based on the book ‘Secrecy World – Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite’ by Jake Bernstein, a two-time Pulitzer-winning journalist. The movie has a documentary-esque feel to it, with Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) giving an extremely wearying narration (or at least it seemed so to a finance-detesting person like me) about tax evasion by saving money in offshore accounts. They are owners of international financial services.
We see a bunch of people who seem inconsequential to the film, people who we are not given any time to know better. While one is arrested at the airport for fraud, another one dies in a roadside accident that is anything but natural. On paper, the latter was the ‘director’ of 25000 companies. After losing two characters so quickly, we wonder why we are shown too much of the African businessman who is having an affair with his daughter’s best friend (Yes, we kid you not!). He actually wants to continue seeing her despite his daughter threatening to tell her mother and he shuts her mouth with a 20 million USD company which, as she later finds out, is not even worth 37 USD.
Ellen’s bad streak doesn’t seem to have an end, with her also losing the condo she had set her eyes on.
She decides to head to Nevis where the reinsurance company is located looking for the man who is the director of the company. For reference, he is the man who gets arrested at the airport in the presence of his second wife (who obviously had no knowledge about his first). Why did we have to see that, we wonder!
Mossack and Fonseca eventually spend few months in jail after the unforgivable data leak where the tax evasion tactics of many wealth investors come out in the open.
An enviable starcast comprising Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman.
With a stellar starcast mentioned above, the movie could have been made heart-stoppingly good for finance lovers and non-lovers alike. But alas!
Sharon Stone appearing in a 2-minute role is sacrilege. It hurts. It physically hurts!
We thought we were promised a movie. Where is it?!
What exactly was the purpose of the film – compensation for the boat accident victims or a lesson on tax evasion?
We didn’t get what the trailer promised.
Watch it only for the actors.
Cast & Crew:
Cast: Gary Oldman (Jürgen Mossack), Antonio Banderas (Ramón Fonseca), Meryl Streep (Ellen Martin), James Cromwell (Joe Martin), Melissa Rauch (Melanie), David Schwimmer (Matthew Quirk), Jeffrey Wright (Malchus Irvin Boncamper), Miriam A. Hyman (Edith Boncamper), Nonso Anozie (Charles), Miracle Washington (Astrid), Jessica Allain (Simone)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Producers: Lawrence Grey, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Sugar, Scott Z. Burns
DOP: Peter Andrews
Watch the trailer here: