Laundromat (2019) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Something very interesting about the latest Netflix original film “Laundromat” is not the complicated subject matter that it deals with, but rather the simplicity nature that Director Steven Soderbergh, with a hectic screenplay by Scott Z. Burns manages to portray it on-screen. The “Panama Papers” notoriously did not get the maximum exposure from the global press as it should have been and the result is like the original intention of the people behind it all, to legally hide behind a scheme of events for tax avoidance and privacy related purposes. What we don’t get in this film is the details behind it all, but a on-surface look on the matter with a crime heist investigative feel to the proceedings.
Meryl Streep plays it straight as the widow caught in the midst of all that is Panama related from insurance scams and shell companies to fraudulent transactions and blatantly Panama law firms making illegal seems legal. Streep is always wonderful and she gives a notion of credible to the role. Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas plays the duo of conmen lawyers behind the scene and whilst attempted to forge a different accent that ends up being more laughable than originally intended.
All in all, “The Laundromat” falls short of achieving its lofty ambition, by providing a light hearted overview of the strings of complicated events. The Panama papers was a big thing and with the idea of 1% of the population pretty much screwing with the rest of the 99%, everything was quickly buried. It’s a shame, but also the sad reality that we live in and deal with everyday in our existence. The film doesn’t glorify these masterminds, nor sympathise with the general suffering victims. It plays like a biography and in some ways it is what it is.
I rated it 6.5/10