The Laundromat | Movie Review

Sunday 10 November 2019

   I remember this already hyped Netflix original movie hitting theaters for a limited run before being available for all to stream. It had an all star cast and it's based off the events leading up to the Panama Papers, a recent event in our political history that... not much came of. Did the movie deliver more than the actual event? Here's my review.

     Let's start with the premise and those involved in the film. A woman's husband dies in a tour boat accident and she finds that getting a payout from the insurance company will be harder than getting the blood out of the carpet from that elevator scene in The Shining. She starts investigating and finds that it all ties back to a pair of Panama City lawyers who are taking advantage of quite a few lax financial laws.

     This was directed by Steven Soderbergh who brought us movies like Logan Lucky, The Informant and Erin Brockovich. It was based off a book by investigative journalist Jake Bernstein and adapted for the screen by Scott Z. Burns who wrote films like The Bourne Ultimatum, Contagion, and The Informant. It stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, James Cromwell, Robert Patrick, Melissa Rauch, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, and Sharon Stone.

     Look at that cast and crew! What's not to love? A lot, as it turns out. This should have been a hit. This should have been the next great film that everyone talked about. Meryl Streep or Gary Oldman alone are enough to garner my interest in a film. But The Laundromat's pedigree is outstanding. Too bad it doesn't deliver.

     The Laundromat was too washed out. It used too much starch, making it too stiff. They forgot the fabric softener. Can I use any other laundry jokes? Maybe. But I'll stop, for now. The plot was so broken that it felt like a jigsaw puzzle put together during an earthquake. It started out fine, making you think that we'd be following Meryl Streep in her investigation while having Oldman and Bandersas cut in every once in a while to teach us lessons about how this scummy financial stuff works in a way reminiscent of The Big Short, which is what I think Soderbergh wanted you to think. But halfway though the movie switches course and follow a new character played by Nonso Anozie  (Cinderella), Then after him a story following Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl).

      As I was watching the movie I wondered what affect Anozie and Schoenaerts stories would have on the movie as a whole. The answer is: nothing. All they do is provide examples of the crimes committed by the two main lawyers and their shell companies. These two stories could have been told in one scene of exposition but instead they were a distraction. The goal was to distract us from the fact that Meryl Streep's character now doesn't matter.  I get it. I get the fact that the main story were the crimes committed by the lawyers from Panama. But we're introduced to Streep and her story, then halfway through it's abandoned and we're force fed two other stories that ultimately don't matter.

    This was a sloppy movie. It had no focus. It tried hard to be The Big Short and the only thing it could replicate was the star power of the main cast. The Big Short was a great movie while The Laundromat felt like a much better script went through the wash and then someone pieced together the remains and tried to make it work.

     There was so much promise here. There was so much potential that was wasted on a poorly thought out, poorly paced, and poorly written movie. I watched this on Netflix for free and I still want my money back.

The Laundromat gets a 3.5 out of 11.

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