Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world's wealthiest citizens amass larger fortunes. Founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen's predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world's corrupt financial system. Zipping through a kaleidoscope of detours in China, Mexico, Africa (via Los Angeles) and the Caribbean en route to 2016's Panama Papers publication - where journalists leaked the secret, encrypted documents of Mossack Fonseca's high-profile patrons - THE LAUNDROMAT's ensemble ...Written by
Netflix became interested in the film when there was talk of Meryl Streep being cast and how she would show up in their algorithms. Currently, very few of the actress's films exist on the platform. See more »
First of all, there are some things you should know before we begin. For instance, we are real people, just like you. Secondly, we did not write a word of this. To be perfectly frank, we would have preferred all of this remain a secret. But we had no choice in the matter. We just woke up one day and everything changed. There were stories about us everywhere: TV, newspapers, and the internet.
And now it is our turn to tell a few stories. Think of them as fairy tales that actually ...
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Many years ago of course, but as I look back I now realize that this sort of financial treachery has been going on since the Garden of Eden.
As a callow youth back in the early 70's on the Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands I landed a job at one of the "conduit banks" that handled remittances from overseas colonies , countries in Africa, The Middle East, India, Pakistan etc.
Even then it was shrouded in secrecy and I was too young to realize that the stuff that was going on was mainly designed by Accountants and Lawyers to keep money out of the hands of Governments who wanted it so they could steal it themselves.
Local lawyers were given seats on the boards of locally incorporated companies with shares to go along with the appointment but with pre-signed letters of resignation should they get out of line.
In those early 70's it was just an infant industry compared to today , the fire was lit by the fall of the Soviet Union, The European Union and the economic rise of China.
So many more crooks materialized with a need to hide their loot.
What was millions before, quickly became hundreds of billions as the aforesaid accountants and lawyers looked for loopholes and paperwork to get around taxation laws.
It wasn't the politicians who deliberately drew up the laws to allow this exploitation, they usually ain't smart enough, but the lawyers and accountants ARE smart enough and that's why we have this debacle. The problem is that everything is just this side of legal so no one can do much about it.
My friend at the time was a senior law draftsman for the Government of Jersey and he told me that they always drew up a law so there was an obscure escape hatch, in case they themselves ever got in a jam.
A tweak or two here and there ruins one haven's advantage (and its economy) and opens up another in a different spot.
In today's world you can move any amount of money from one jurisdiction to another at the click of a key, without a question being asked.
And so this movie examines the spider's web with a touch of humour, a great deal of panache and a fairly good understanding of what goes on when things go south.
Meryl Streep is very good in her role and Gary Oldman and Banderas are perfect as the amoral principals in Mossack/Fonseca.
There's no such thing as "just desserts" in the world of offshore finance because hardly anyone ever loses. By the time the authorities get around to nailing someone, the money's been moved to another jurisdiction and they have to start all over again.
Most people think that you can walk into a bank or law office in one of these places with a court order from the U.S. or Canada (or wherever) and that they will shrink in fear and give you the info you're looking for............. Think again!
They just laugh at these orders, because they have no authority in foreign countries and they serve as an early warning system to their clients to move the money, tout de suite, to one of the other jurisdictions I just mentioned.
Think of a cat trying to catch a dot of light on the living room wall and you'll have a good understanding.
A couple of things to remember about these jewels in the Caribbean or the Med or the English Channel;
1) that the locals don't reap much of the benefits (apart from the few who are part of the game).
I myself was paid peanuts for handling vast amounts of money, while the banks as entities made a king's ransom by way of service fees and trust administration charges. Those cheapskate banks still pay miserly wages to the front desk flunkies.
2) Even if Governments DO manage to collect any money, you won't see a dime of reduction in your taxes, because they spend most of that money firstly in expenses collecting it, and secondly on programs trying to stamp it out.
It's like painting the Forth Bridge.
So, very little of the fabulous sums actually stay where they are deposited and only a tiny, tiny fraction is spent on local economies, because the rich don't actually live there.
The money just bounces on the ground for a second and ends up either in London or New York, where Xanadu type homes are purchased in anonymous company names.
Don't believe the headlines that tell us that it's being cleaned up, it's worse than it ever was.
A very interesting, if depressing, movie, a million tax free times better than "The Big Short" enjoy.
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