The Laundromat

2019 Film, NETFLIX

Movie claims Nawaz Sharif resigned after the panama leaks (He was dismissed)

Then again it states its based on ‘some’ real shit.

Star-powered drama,“The Laundromat” is about modern systems which protect the extremely wealthy. Panama Papers, Tax avoidance and weak laws are the basic gist. 1% of the entire world population damages the other 99% to avoid law and taxes.

Although its an attempt to explain and inform how these shell companies are made and what they do- the movie is very complex just like the issue at hand.

Financial Systems are rotten to the core- to this day. Even after (as explained in the movie) 2016 Mossack and Fonseca leak, when millions of the Panamanian law firm’s files were anonymously leaked to the press.

This movie is not just a lesson. Its also a diversion. It seeks to educate by means of trickery and misdirection. It is thus best approached as a kind of cinematic shell game, in which the focus of the story keeps shifting and the full scope of the corruption on display remains just out of view.

Adapted by Scott Z. Burns from “Secrecy World,” Jake Bernstein’s 2017 book about the Panama Papers scandal, “The Laundromat” plunges headlong into the intricate workings of offshore bank accounts, shell companies and other means by which the global financial elite hide their wealth and avoid taxes.

Like almost everything that happens in the movie, an accident happens when Meryl Streep’s character, Ellen is drawn into a daisy-chain of financial chicanery after her husband (James Cromwell) drowns with 19 other passengers on a tour boat that capsizes in Lake George, N.Y is drawn from real life: a 2005 tragedy that was compounded by the news that the boating company, Shoreline Cruises, had been sold a fraudulent policy for liability insurance.

In a movie with more than a few false aliases, it spoils nothing to point out that Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman are in fact playing the firm’s chief partners, Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack (which partly explains Oldman’s comically exaggerated German accent).

The end will throw your expectations off-balance and subtly shift the movie’s moral center of gravity.

“The Laundromat” often seemed random or disjointed. The confusion that this movie sometimes provokes — is all this really happening? Did any of this really happen? Did I just see Sharon Stone? David Schwimmer? — matches the instability of a system in which human lives are connected by little more than pieces of paper, and money itself, more than any individual person, is the all-knowing protagonist invisibly driving the story forward.

In one of many cheeky asides, it’s noted that the director uses no fewer than five shell companies in Delaware, the leading provider of such services in the U.S.

This is the system we have built and the fact that it discourages transparency and incentivizes corruption should neither surprise nor outrage us.

In 96 minutes we see a series of vignettes underlining humanity’s subservience to greed. Some of the segments work – especially one involving an African business titan who decides to teach his daughter an expensive family lesson – and some are too thin (maybe there is a downside to that brisk 96-minute runtime after all) .

Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat” makes an effort to shed some light on (and assign blame for) the machinations behind the Panama Papers insurance scandal.

Alas, by the time everything comes out in the wash, so to speak, we’ve been overwhelmed by a dizzying array of tricked-out visuals and stylized sequences, with the end result being a muddled, meandering, hit-and-miss social satire and political commentary that’s too heavy on the latter category and often lacking in the former.

Rating: 6/10

For tax consultancy, financial reporting or just plain old bookkeeping contact finperial@gmail.com

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