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Steven Soderbergh, we all know, can do anything. So it’s interesting that over a storied career that includes Palme d’Or-winning microbudget indies, semi-experimental actioners, ambitious literary adaptations, man-against-the-machine biopics, and unshowy formalist documentaries, he should have alighted so often on the heist movie. His three ‘Oceans‘ films, “Out of Sight,” and most recently “Logan Lucky” all sit squarely in that area, and—though it might seem counterintuitive to begin with—they also perfectly pave the way for the energetic filmmaking of his latest jaunty, globetrotting romp “The Laundromat.” The film is a grab-bag sample of several loosely connected stories that came to light during the 2015 leak of the so-called Panama Papers; after all, how better to describe the trail of insurance malfeasance, financial skullduggery, corporate fraud, and political corruption they uncovered than as a heist? Especially one that operates on a global scale, with you, me, and our next-door neighbors as its clueless marks.
Written by Scott Z. Burns (who also wrote Soderbergh’s similarly themed, similarly antic “The Informant!“), the screenplay’s first witty flourish is to use the villains of the piece, Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) as our winking, self-justifying, martini-sipping guides. Lawyers and literal partners in crime, Jürgen and Ramón head up Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based legal firm through which the very wealthy funnel their money into endless shell companies and offshore accounts. As Oldman’s Mossack explains in his haphazardly unplaceable accent, this is how they take advantage of legal loopholes and tax avoidance schemes so that—at worst—the trail for any bloodhound following the money from their French mansions and million-dollar Las Vegas condos would dead-end out at a postbox in Nevis or Cyprus or Gibraltar.
End - Deal - Meek - Inheritance
At the other, rawer end of the deal, there are the meek, still awaiting their earthly inheritance. They are exemplified here...
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