The Laundromat

Based on Jake Bernstein’s book ‘Secrecy World’, ‘The Laundromat’ is highly topical. Exploring the 2016 Panama Papers scandal where high flyers were caught in money laundering scams, it presents relatable issues. Being caught out by smooth talking conmen who know how to pilfer cash can be seen on TV news almost daily. Director Steven Soderbergh excels at tackling an issue like this. Whilst tonally ‘The Laundromat’ is a bit all over the place, it has enough of his directorial flair to make it consistently interesting.

While enjoying a wonderful vacation with her husband, Ellen (Meryl Streep) receives a nasty shock. Ellen discovers she has a fake insurance policy rendering any claims worthless. Her investigations point to a law firm in Panama City whose primary business is helping the world’s wealthy elite to amass larger fortunes. Owned by partners Jurgen (Gary Oldman) and Ramon (Antonio Banderas), the firm’s shady dealings are in Ellen’s sights as a global conspiracy slowly unravels.

‘The Laundromat’ is akin to a very entertaining financial lesson. The ins and outs of finance can be extremely complex but Soderbergh presents such facts in an easy to follow manner. By understanding how shonky money schemes work are you able to become involved in Ellen’s plight. She isn’t the only victim of Jurgen and Ramon’s sleazy ways but represents the every-person who has to deal with people who hide behind corporate interests.

Although ‘The Laundromat’ isn’t Soderbergh at his best, even his worst is still strong viewing. Much of its success is down to an absorbing script and the performances. Streep, Oldman and Banderas are masters of their craft and it’s always pleasure seeing them in action. Whilst ‘The Laundromat’ is tonally inconsistent, it’s never dull due to solid acting and the often striking cinematography.

Steven Soderbergh has been quite prolific in recent years with a slew of movies. Some have been better than others but they’re always unique and have something to say. ‘The Laundromat’ follows this path with the supposedly attractive world of the almighty dollar as unattractive as the crooked people misusing it for their own needs.

Rating out of 10: 7


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