The Laundromat and its mixed emotions

The Laundromat is a story of deplorable high finance. The plot unfolds beginning with a woman Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) who discovers a fraudulent insurance company following an accident involving herself and her husband on a river tour boat.

Throughout the film commentary is delivered in a comedic style by the two main protagonists Jurgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramon Fonseca (Antonio Banderas). Mossack and Fonseca are the founders of a legal firm specializing in creating shell companies throughout the world—providing anonymity to powerful business interests—by hiding assets.

While the cast performance is excellent the film’s screenplay is its ultimate Achilles heel.  The emotional tug of war experienced throughout the entire feature leaves you trying to catch an emotional gear.  Should we laugh? Should we get angry? Should we cry? The Laundromat doesn’t know what kind of film it is trying to be.

The saving grace, of course, is the cast—wielding the fine mastery of their craft—allowing us to just take in the tax avoidance lesson, without too much disappointment. 

In the end a whole different approach would have made this film hit home.