Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Written By: Scott Z. Burns
Based on the Book “Secrecy World: Inside The Panama Papers Investigation Of Illicit Money Networks and The Global Elite” By: Jake Bernstein
Cinematography: Peter Andrews
Editor: Mary Ann Bernard
Cast: Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, James Cromwell, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Larry Wilmore, Rosalind Chao, Matthias Schoenaerts, Nonso Anozie, Miracle Washington, Jessica Allain, Jay Paulson, Melissa Rauch, Will Forte, Chris Parnell
A widow investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners exploiting the world’s financial system.
It feels like this films almost a lesson with dramatization added. Based on the Panama papers. It seems like Meryl Streep is the audience surrogate in a buerocratic international video game. Where through her experience we learn all about this situation really about fraud and international banking.
Though supposed to be kind of comedic. The horns on us as it tries but in the end the jokes on us. As the rich stay rich and we the audience, the supposed meek and average keep getting conned and stay victims. While it’s nice to be informed if little is done or changed what’s the use? Inspiration?
Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas are kind of the villains. Who are wealth managers. They help explain the laws and how things work. While being involved personally as the masterminds. Who comment on actions going on in the film as well as being part of the story.
The film then becomes a kind of anthology that involves their clients. We get to see how the different stories and people are eventually going to affect one another and leads back to them And their firm. While introducing and partially narrating these tales.
Though the actors give it their all. There is nothing to really hold onto. As it all feels airless as the actors are clearly having fun and take to their roles with great gusto, but the material is so bland.
So that as usual from director Steven Soderbergh it feels more experimental overall and a collection of ideas all under the tent of a true story and scandal.
Meryl Streep playing another role under a lot of make-up seems in bad taste and either the whim of the director or star. As a kind of an Easter egg or joke that allows to show Ms. Streep’s range but is unneeded. Though she is literally in brown face. That seems like an impression of the cleaning lady from FAMILY GUY. Her reveal at the end is understandable for the situation and what was being attempted but it is still rather obvious early kn
The film has so many moving parts that all try to come together and still feel confusing. Certain scenes feel there for little reason or are made visual asides for no real reason other then as jokes or unneeded visual flair. There is tension between the subject matter and the delivery where it feels offbeat yet still makes the tune.
The film and director seems to have a love/hate relationship with the audience. Where we can applaud his visual flair and for staying true to his passions and independent cinema. Here he seems to take the material in stride like he is doing a report.
Though for all of his flair. The films sometimes come off bland or don’t live up to their full potential. Going in a different route then expected more fact based and set in reality. The films are usually filled with well know. Actors or stars. Even in small roles though usually avant grade experimental and full of ideas. It seems like he wants to challenge them or see what he can get them To do. Often his films like this one Feels like a production or a game of dress up with an explanation sold as a drama. As it feels too lighthearted.
There is a fun scene of having two former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members cameo for a short comedic scene.
The films feels almost like an anthology with them as the hosts. In requisite lounge lizard suits making them Look like they are hosting a show in Las Vegas. As both seem to have fun in their roles.
While this film offers scenes of dramatization of those involved. That is where most of the comedy comes from but even then most of these stories end up as tragedies of some sort that feel like morality tales. That end up never quite as explosive or explosive as they Could be, usually taking the high road.
Like the film VICE. This is playful while essentially also being an information dump.
When something like this would be an anticipated release when it comes to award season. Blowing the lid off of the subject. While meaning well fella hollow and minorly noteworthy.
The subject matter seems to deserve to be a documentary More than a dramatized dumbed down narrative tutorial