The Laundromat early reactions: Meryl Streep-Gary Oldman comedy's 'slapdash narrative doesn't always click'

FP Staff

Sep 02, 2019 08:43:30 IST

Meryl Streep's comedy The Laundromat,  directed by Steven Sodenbergh, premiered at Venice Film Festival on 1 September. Based on Jake Bernstein's book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite, the film also stars Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.

 The Laundromat early reactions: Meryl Streep-Gary Oldman comedys slapdash narrative doesnt always click

Meryl Streep in The Laundromat. YouTube

Soderbergh and Streep explained why the film was made in the comic genre even when it is based on Panama Papers, a serious issue. Everyone who makes a film wishes that their work is remembered by the viewers when they step out of the theatre, and that is why makers arrived at the decision of shooting the movie in the comic genre.

"We decided that a dark comedy had the best possible chance of remaining in the minds of the viewers and also gave us the opportunity to use the complexity of this kind of financial activities almost as a joke, almost as the setup for a punch line," Soderbergh told The Hollywood Reporter.

Here are the first reactions to the film:

The Wrap:  "There’s no question that more people should be familiar with the Panama Papers, and demanding changes to the system that allows these fake shell companies to exist, but even with its heart in exactly the right place, The Laundromat isn’t going to move that needle."

Variety: The Laundromat is structured, theoretically, as a whistleblower saga, designed to show us how the Panama Papers came to light. But the way the story was uncovered almost doesn’t matter; what Soderbergh is interested in is how the world of it all works. He brings a handful of minor and major players to life as characters, all with a tone of deadpan but slightly chortling can-you-believe-this? reportorial glee."

The Hollywood Reporter: Despite the filmmaker's obvious smarts and oft-proven skills, there's a kind of off-putting effrontery about Soderbergh's approach here that rather sours the whole experience. The tone is brittle, the attitude arch, the performances by a savvy and diverse cast uneven.

IndieWire: "...The Laundromat stuffs a lot of information into 95 minutes. The slapdash narrative doesn’t always click, and some of the devices are so on-the-nose one can practically hear Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns cackling at their cleverness. At the same time, the frisky energy of The Laundromat turns its “money-laundering for dummies” conceit into a robust anti-capitalist screed, so that even the dopey cameos and cartoonish metaphors come tinged with the queasy sense that the bad guys are laughing hardest at every joke."

Screen Daily: "It was always difficult to imagine how a shady scandal involving global financial finagling could be made into a film, but Soderbergh’s decision to tack the razzle-dazzle distraction of dozens of celebrity cameos onto a series of confusing vignettes simply doesn’t come clean."

The Laundromat is set to hit select US cinemas on 27 September, 2019, before it premieres on Netflix on 18 October.

(With inputs from Asian News International)

Updated Date: Sep 02, 2019 09:12:41 IST