The North Texas Film Festival premiere of Netflix’s The Laundromat presented a complicated film that often breaks the fourth wall and presents human characters who show intense sides of humanity and propensity to vice.
It is complicated in the way a diamond-wearing, church going woman in the mid-Atlantic states losing her husband and the condo meant to remind her of him to a shady off-shore banking company involving African and Caribbean characters can be. It was never-the-less an engaging film that will capture the attention of audiences with superb acting by Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas and phenomenal portrayals by all else involved.
Power and corruption run rife in a global insurance, investments, real estate and banking industry as a suddenly widowed Ellen Martin attempts to make sense of her life. Her husband becomes suddenly deceased in a mass fatality shipwreck at Niagra Falls before he can hand her an anniversary present of a ruby. The condo she wants to remind herself of her husband who stole tickets to see The Supremes with is suddenly snapped up by a strange shell company with ties to a banking and insurance system that reroutes her calls and disconnects them.
Steven Soderbergh’s writing is a times a bit ham-handed and often times a bit too cognizant of the conventions it breaks as it tells a narrative clumsily asking for a restoration of liberty to a nation by policing its financial systems that operate as shadily in Delaware as they do in the Lesser Antilles.
It also does not present a balanced view of minorities, the accumulation of funds or goods by colonizing systems over the colonized and “fraud” in this framework or sense. It is a reasonable commentary on a need to regulate our systems of finance and capital, however, and should start many necessary conversations with its compelling storytelling.
David Schwimmer, Gary Oldman, Jeffery Wright, Nonzo Anozie, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Chris Parnell — honestly this list of talent is so long it’s hard to credit it well in passing in an article — all deliver masterful performances.
It’s decidedly a film to observe people who are living out situations, more than anything else.