The Laundromat is Steven Soderbergh’s darkly comedic dramatisation based on the Panama papers scandal. The film is told through several different stories that interact with the Mossack Fonseca law firm, who were at the centre of the scandal. These stories are intercut by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas playing Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca and explaining their criminal scams. The problem is that with all these different stories the film feels so messy and incoherent that the emotional impact of the stories, particularly the first starring Meryl Streep is completely lost.
Scott Z. Burns, who wrote the film, also made The Report this year, which also tackled a big scandal from a liberal angle. Where that film was important, but felt a little dry, The Laundromat just feels preachy and as though we’re getting lectured about why money laundering is bad. This means that the important message of the film gets a little lost. And that’s a real shame because there is a potentially interesting film to be made in there about the scandal, but this is just not it.