Most working class are unable to afford the top dollar insurance polices and often opt for the least expensive with minimal options and rapid payout. Needless to say, the old adage, you get what you pay for has never been more true the when middle-class retiree Ellen (Meryl Streep) loses her husband in a ferry accident. Naturally, she contacts the insurance company only to be told she is denied compensation due to some company changing hands shenanigans. Annoyed and heartbroken, Ellen embarks onto a personal investigation checking out massive chains of insurance companies inexplicably dodging her claim only to discover that they are in fact one company run and operated by the same two men.
Ponzi schemes. Greed. Theft. Deception are among The Laundromat’s inspired ingredients in which billionaires Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) offers an economics seminar on how to become fabulously wealthy while exercising endless loopholes in global finance, tax avoidance, tax evasion and the moral lessons that come along the way.
A moral lesson that ultimately resulted in massive loss of life including Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist who was killed while collecting information about the Panama Papers (the scandal from which this film is based).
Taking inspiration from Jake Bernstein’s book ‘Secrecy World’ and Damián Szifron’s 2014 comedic anthology ‘Wild Tales’, Burns and director Steven Soderbergh set up a quartet of interweaving storylines where a paper trail leads to various fake locales where money launderers, organ traffickers, bafooned bureaucrats, families and deadly drug traffickers are inadvertently tied to the same companies resulting in managing their micro-dramas.
It goes without saying that Meryl Streep simply crushes any role she inhabits, and honestly has outdone herself this time. One of her reveals toward the last act with have your mouth agape.
Soderbergh is a master at pacing out a film and nothing is more true than with this one. He gives it the hilarity and the pacing of his Oceans film mixed with a little entertaining storytelling narration provided by Oldman and Banderas. With star cameo roles inhabited by Sharon Stone, Jeffrey Wright, Cristela Alonzo, Larry Wilmore, David Schwimmer and Matthias Schoenaerts to name a few, kept me on the edge of my seat from first frame to the last.
Riveting and eye-opening, The Laundromat is truly a wake up call to anyone anywhere who’s ever shelled out hard-earned money for policies only to discover they have been lied to and policy funds mis-managed within an inch of its life. Having had a theatrical run from September 27th, The Laundromat is now streaming on Netflix right now as of October 18.