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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Financial Fraud Blues
by Betty Jo Tucker

The Laundromat overflows with lessons about money. It’s a scathing attack on the way many financial organizations take advantage of us. Fortunately, director Steven Soderbergh chose an unusual theatrical way of telling this story (from Scott Z. Burns screenplay based on Jake Bernstein’s book) -- one that seems designed to entertain viewers as well as to enlighten them. He also selected a first-rate cast led by Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas and Gary Goldman.

Sadly, this film is based on a true story about the way so many people have lost money because of unscrupulous financial actions. My only complaint about the movie relates to the massive amount of information included, which sometimes made me feel confused.  

But Meryl Streep helped me stay with the complicated plot. She plays a woman whose beloved husband (James Cromwell) drowns as the result of a boat accident. Besides being in a state of grief, she discovers her husband’s insurance will not pay off because it was sold to different company without funds. No wonder she decides to find out why this happened to her. Streep’s character is persistence personified!

Banderas and Goldman are partners in a large financial company involved in cases like this. But they also act as the narrators guiding us through the financial labyrinth. Here’s where the theatrical approach kicks in. These two are reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire in That’s Entertainment as they guided viewers through the history of MGM musicals.

And Streep even imitates the Statue of Liberty in a particularly theatrical scene. Don’t think I’m complaining. I love this unusual approach. I wouldn't be surprised if The Laundromau became a Broadway musical.     

 Some secrets about money here.

To know them causes us great fear.

Insurance scams, tax avoiding –

among other wrongs colliding –

get revealed in “The Laundromat.”

We want to say much more than “drat!”

 

Banderas and Goldman speak out

as two narrators with some clout.

Streep plays a woman in despair

because of actions by this pair.

Their story told with lots of style

might stay with you for quite a while.

Corruption, embezzlement, fraud -- these are all current threats which exist everywhere. It is regrettable the way human nature functions,  whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it at a minimum. – Alan Greenspan 

(Released by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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