“The Meek are Doomed.” It is by this sentence the Netflix film on greed, corruption and money laundering, Laundromat, runs. The film has a star studded cast with three time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Golden Globe award winner Gary Oldman, and Friends star David Schwimmer.
It is centered around the Panama Papers, which are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. These offshore entities were illegally run by the inordinately rich, and was the best secret ever kept.
Laundromat follows a middle class woman named Ellen Martin, played by Meryl Streep, who slowly climbs up the chain of power in a desperate attempt to find an insurance company to hold responsible for the death of her husband. She goes from one insurance company to another, until she finally reaches a fake offshore company, the ultimate dead end. As the movie goes on, we are shown several offshore fraudulent insurance companies, all linked to the world’s fourth largest provider of offshore financial service, Mossack and Fonseca.
Watching the film makes the viewer question how much they know about the world around them. Laundromat ends with Jürgen Mossack, played by Gary Oldman, and Ramón Fonseca Mora, played by Antonio Banderas, asking viewers if arresting and exposing their company through the panama papers will cause other money launderers to second guess the safety of their business. Mossack and Fonseca were arrested due to the panama papers, but were held in jail for a measly three months. They then go on to explain that the meek, people that possess a righteous, humble, teachable, and patient personality even under suffering, are doomed. Greedy corporations step on meek people to get to higher levels of wealth and power, and their greed grows more with every step they take.
“So if we are the losers, then who are the winners,” Fonseca said. “The meek? Children Who need books, the poor who need homes.”
“The United States is the biggest tax haven in the world,” Mosseca said,”Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming. How Much due diligence is happening there?”
Politicians, the rich, the wanting to be rich, and so many more are guilty of being involved with and accepting money from said illegal offshore companies. This makes the viewer question whether or not the laws passed to prevent fraudulent offshore companies, are enough to stop people committing these crimes, when the politicians writing the laws are accepting donations from them. In today’s society, anyone can get away with anything as long as you have a big enough paycheck.
The film does an exceptional job in capturing the anger and hopelessness the average hardworking, middle class person feels when huge corporations choose to take advantage of them. It makes evident the real problem is in fact that there is a top 1%, when there are people pinching pennies to survive.
The following words are taken from the anonymous whistleblower responsible for the panama papers manifesto.
“In this system, our system, the slaves are unaware, both of their status and their masters, who exist in a world apart,” the anonymous whistle-blower said.