“The Laundromat” has fun with finance fraud while its star sticks up for whistleblowers

 In Hollywood, everyone loves a whistleblower. Actress Meryl Streep played one early in her career in Silkwood, and she plays one again in The Laundromat. The film offers a goofy take on what became known as The Panama Papers, an international expose of the offshore finance industry.

During the publicity tours for the film, Streep speaks in support of whistleblowers. At the opening, Streep said:

The reason this, the Panama Papers, was exported to the world was because of the work of over 300 investigative journalists who got the word of John Doe, the whistleblower … out into the world,” Streep said. “Some people died for it … And people die still to get the word out. This movie is fun, it’s funny, but it’s really, really, really important.

She also goes out of character at the end of the movie, gives a shout-out to whistleblowers and poses as the Statue of Liberty. “When it takes a whistleblower to sound the alarm, it’s time for serious concern,” she says, “It signals that democracy’s check and balances have failed.’

More on The Panama Paper from the ICIJ:

The investigation, a collaboration of almost 400 journalists from 80 countries, led to the resignation of prime ministers, criminal charges in Latin America and Europe and to governments from Australia to Iceland recovering more than $1.2 billion in unpaid taxes and penaltiesMossack and Fonseca deny wrongdoing. The law firm closed in 2018.

In the United States, prosecutors have charged two former Mossack Fonseca employees, a U.S.-based accountant and a former U.S. taxpayer with financial crimes as a result of the investigation.

 Vox calls the movie “unwieldy at times.” But it also describes it as “the most entertaining way to learn about the Panama Papers.”

The Laundromat aims to show how loopholes in various countries’ tax codes were exploited and sleight-of-hand tricks were employed by the rich, and how they affected ordinary people — like a woman (Meryl Streep) who lost her husband in a tour boat accident and then was unable to collect insurance payments because the boat company’s liability coverage came from a fraudulent shell company. …

The Laundromat is unwieldy at times, and its final scene is truly befuddling. But it’s worth watching not just for its bitterly entertaining explanation of a densely confusing matter but also the way it illustrates a larger problem. Most average people don’t just lack the means to avoid taxes; they don’t even know there’s a way that other people do. And yet the confusing, labyrinthine methods that the extremely wealthy can use to conceal their cash has far-reaching repercussions; The Laundromat reveals how.

 The Onion has also been having some fund with whistleblowers lately. Last week it ran a list of the pro and cons of exposing injustice.


Better term for an adult than “tattletale.”

Get to be famous prisoner.

Receive heartfelt thanks of at least half a grateful nation.

Opportunity to see parts of world that don’t have extradition agreements with America.

Increasingly a growth industry.

Click here for the cons.



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