Photo Credit: Claudette Barius/Netflix
Netflix has released a trailer for The Laundromat, Ocean's trilogy director Steven Soderbergh's next movie which follows a widow (Meryl Streep) who investigates an insurance fraud and ends up encountering a pair of Panama City law partners (Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas), co-founders of Mossack Fonseca, who were behind the decades-spanning Panama Papers financial scandal that exploited the world's financial system and involved politicians and public officials among many others. 500 Indians were listed in the papers, including Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, though they have either denied their involvement or questioned the documents' authenticity.
“First you must ask yourself, are you wealthy?” Oldman says in a heavy accent while breaking the fourth wall, as German-born Panamanian lawyer Jürgen Mossack in the new The Laundromat trailer. His Panamian lawyer partner Ramón Fonseca (Banderas) then adds: “Simple truth of the world is that most games, for someone to win, well, someone has to lose.” As the last words are spoken, we are shown a downbeat old woman (Streep). Title cards then wonder: “How do 15 million millionaires in 200 countries stay rich?” before answering its own question: “With lawyers like these.”
A search for answers about the drowning of her partner Joe and 20 others leads Streep's character to Mossack Fonseca, and she wonders what the next step is. David Schwimmer's character is introduced next, who claims that all he “did was try and send money”, and he's informed in turn that it's all part of a huge scam. An attorney says “they are getting away with murder” in a different shot, which is linked to Mossack (Oldman) reflecting on the word ‘bad': “‘Bad' is such a big word for being such a small word.”
The Laundromat trailer then introduces its cast and their credentials, which includes Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) apart from Streep, Oldman, Banderas, and Schwimmer. Towards the end of the trailer, Fonseca (Banderas) breaks the fourth wall again to ask, “How does it all work?” only for Streep's character to answer in a different scene: “Bribery, corruption, money laundering, millions and millions and millions of dollars. Somebody has to sound the alarm.”
Cut to the document leaks, which puts Mossack Fonseca in the spotlight as well as millionaires around the world, from the US, Middle East, and Russia, to China. After a woman asks in one scene where her money is, the lawyers break the fourth wall again to reply in a different shot: “Most of the time, we don't even know.” Which is sort of true, considering the number of offshore corporations they were running.
Here's the official synopsis for The Laundromat, via Netflix:
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world's wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming — and very well-dressed — founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen's predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world's corrupt financial system.
The Laundromat is out October 18 on Netflix. It will have a limited theatrical release in the US starting September 27, after premiering at the 2019 Venice Film Festival on Sunday. The film is partly based on Jake Bernstein's book “Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite”, with Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) adapting it as writer.