The Panama Papers (2018) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
"No pasa nada": Nothing will happen
MovieIQTest31 January 2019
As a very poor guy now living like a house-arrested criminal awaiting the final call from someone that was created and blindly believed He Who Exists Everywhere Spies on You for your verdict and termination, this "Panama Papers" indeed convinced me there's indeed someone that's so cunning and so mysteriously creative to have ingeniously designed such complicated money laundry and tax avoidance scheme for the 1% of the richest people in the world. It also proved that this so-called divine being only cares about these 1% of human population and despises and disregards the 99% of the people on this planet.

This documentary should not just flashed those peoples' names so quickly, it should show a complete list of these peoples who involved in such scandal, and let's us have the chance to read clearly who they are, 1% of such smart@ses that we definitely could have the patience to go through and get to know Who's Who, especially the people in the Land of The Broken Dream, but the list could skip that name of the satanic arrogant Twitter in D.C., 'cause we already knew it.

This film only made me become even sadder since I have to refrain myself not to turn on the gas heater even it's so cold at night right now, just hope to save a couple of gas fee this month. Being one of the 99% of the population overlooked by that Guy controlling the Universe, "No pasa nada" is the only truth that I blindly believe.
8 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Extremely relevant documentary about tax evasion, without neglecting dangers involved in revealing those secrets. Difficult topic to find appropriate visuals for
JvH4822 December 2018
Saw this at IDFA 2018, the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. The movie makes abundantly clear that corruption in the broadest sense of the word, is not confined to countries far away. Politicians in Europe and USA, as well as "fellow" citizens with more money than they can spend in a life time, go at any length to hide their assets. They do that mainly for tax evasion purposes. That observation is extra painful, given that richness and poverty are very unevenly distributed. By refusing to pay their fair share of taxes, they also avoid contributing to the solution of these problems.

This movie presents a very relevant overview of the situation as it is nowadays. However, as a movie it has its problems, because it is a difficult story to find appropriate visuals with. Talking heads are inevitable around topics like this, but what can be shown in the background, next to what they tell us?? The subjects are relevant, so that is not the issue here. But showing documents in passing, thereby highlighting text fragments and signatures, totally out of context, does not work for me. This form of presentation is not attractive in any way.

There are relevant remarks about the risks for the journalists involved. Ditto for the whistle blowers who provide the ground work for the published articles. The movie mentions some earlier whistle blowers, Manning and Snowden, despite having played their role in a very different context. Their names are explicitly mentioned here, if only to emphasize that their lives drastically changed after they went public. We know what happened to these two, which might work as a deterrent for followers in their footsteps. And the one journalist involved in the Panama papers, who lately became the victim of a car bomb, is also a frightening perspective. Their adversaries are powerful, their pockets are deep enough to pay any straw man, or assembling an army of sollicitors, and thus can easily get away with it.

All in all, despite some minor limitations in presenting the dry subject at hand, due to a lack of appealing visuals, the underlying issues are relevant enough to accept the lack of vividness as a fact of life, given the nature of the material.
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Exposé more about the journalists than the results
GerryofNorVA27 February 2019
The Panama Papers is an exposé of the financial underworld and named much like "The Pentagon Papers" exposé of 1971. It's a mostly interesting account of the lengths the super rich will go to hide their wealth - many times illegally acquired - from taxing authorities. And these are not your banana republic dictators but First World leaders, celebrities, and sports figures. However, the account dwells a lot on the investigative efforts of journalists worldwide and the risks to them, and though that's of some interest, it seems to be more the focus of the film. I wasn't quite satisfied with this approach, nor the way it concluded. Sure, many govt leaders were forced to resign but why not prosecuted/jailed? The film could've delved into that, too, but didn't.
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not a scoop but a bold and level-headed collaborative investigative journalism ...
samabc-3195213 September 2021
"The horrific magnitude to the detriment of the world should shock us all awake! When it takes whistle blower to sound an alarm that signals that democracy's checks and balance have all failed, that the breakdown is systemic, and that severe instability could be just around the corner" 3 super leaks happened in early part of this century. WikiLeaks, Snowden and Panama papers that shook the globe. This is a documentary about how the ugly secret of many wealthiests, world leaders, celebrities, cartels and major corporations was unveiled including how a major bank got involved in concealing $16 billion of Iran wire transfers, dealing with bank that is linked to Al-Qaeda, ignoring Mexican drug money laundering...the shell companies, tax evasion, money laundering and more... And the outcome of this was resignations by many leaders such as Iceland Prime Minister, Pakistan Prime Minister (who was also fined $10 million and sentenced to 10 years in prison), UK Prime Minister, Brazil President ( he was impeached), Brazil opposition party was charged with corruption, Spain minister for industry energy and tourism, FIFA's ethics judge, Head of transparency international in Chile, The CEO of Hupobank in Austria, (HSBC Switzerland paid hefty fines) This is not a scoop.. it is a collective and collaborative investigative journalism that is bold and level-headed. Hats off to those journalists and the source! The stats are not unexpected but unsettling. A MUST watch documentary..
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting, fast-paced
PeachesIR29 January 2021
I enjoyed "The Panama Papers," mainly for its focus on the investigative journalists worldwide who collaboratively, painstakingly researched the massive story. This documentary unravels the complex financial shenanigans secretly managed by a shadowy Panama law firm, but also explains to viewers why all this matters so much-in terms you can understand and put into context even if you know nothing about finance, tax laws or banking. I did sense the filmmakers' strong political agenda, but that didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the film. It's educational and diverting.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A wasted opportunity, a puff piece of self congratulatory nothingness.
yavoyavo3 March 2019
I'm sure like many I wondered what ever happened to that leak, the Panama papers. If that was your question, this has no answers, its just a puff piece on the journalists and how "heroic" they are. Very little on the corruption is covered, just hinted at superficially, not details worth mentioning, even spends an entire section just bashing Trump on pure speculation. There is neither insightful behind the scenes exploration or real coverage of cases of corruption, its a "journalism is dangerous" piece when even the cases cited may have been based on other motivations, its simply pushing a narrative, wealthy bad, Trump bad, journalists good. Most certainly nothing about the media and journalists own hand in discrediting themselves contributing to the modern medias inability to cover anything important. The cases and trials you'd expect to be covered are only mentioned in a series of end text before the credits. A completely wasted opportunity.
17 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
robdrummond31 August 2020
I had hoped this would name many more names - but it turned out that it was more about how the Journalists traced It all and how good the journalists were in finding the links provided.

Shame the allegations or suggestions made throughout the programme were not followed through. Most of the leads - in my opinion - were largely based more on innuendo and name dropping but without any meaningful follow through.

Shame it could have been much more interesting to let us know "who" the "members of the Spanish Royal family" were that allegedly "hid" cash and indeed many other of the more prominent members of society - as opposed to the Putins of the World and some guy from Iceland.

I wanted to see big names being jailed and refunding the taxes thieved from the rest of us.
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A sad commentary on society
tlpinbcc12 August 2019
I applaude the documentarians for this excellent depiction of the investigative reporting of the John Doe whistleblower. I only wish it had more of an impact on the American political system and wallstreet billionares. Instrumental in understanding the wealth gap and its causes and ramifications on society.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Stairway to Tax Haven
type-a1pha5 February 2019
Yet another leak, yet another example of how the richest pillage the populace and the system. The existence of offshore companies and corporations as means to avoid taxes isn't really unheard of. Thieves and crooks exist everywhere and whenever something is exploitable someone will take advantage. What really makes the Panama Papers leak important, though, is the scale of it and the high profile people that it exposed. This documentary narrates the chain of events that brought the existence of widespread tax evasion and tax havens to light. From the first contact with the whistleblower, to the journalistic effort, to end with some important consequences such as major political convictions and deadly developments for some of the journalists involved. Overall it is an interesting view on something that should definitely be remembered more, even after years have passed. Given the state of affairs, in fact, one would say that most of it seems to have been forgotten or at least moved to the background. These people rob the least fortunate of infrastructures and possibilities, and the average citizen doesn't seem to care or possibly doesn't even know. The focus is primarily on the investigative side of the events. Interviews with members of the ICIJ and the main journalists that brought forth the initial leak, account for most of the running time. It is definitely intriguing learning how such a grand journalistic endeavor is conducted. However, it would have been interesting to know more about the actual content of the documents leaked aside from the basic explanations given and the most illustrious convictions shown. Definitely something worth watching and knowing.
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The story behind the scandal
SimoCummings3 March 2019
Very interesting documentary as to how the Panama Papers story was revealed.. The personal risks journalists go through to make the truth known.. The fact that journalists HAVE paid with their lives..! Really brings home the massive impact corruption has on the world economy.. Billions of dollars that could help so many people.. So frustrating that many of the greedy and the guilty still reign! 🙊🙈🙉
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Just the journalists talking about themselves
hallgrahamb13 February 2020
I watched this hoping to learn something about who was hiding money, how, and who was helping them. But instead, what I got was over an hour of the journalists talking about themselves and their collaboration. There was only about 20 minutes of actual discussion of the contents of the documents. This was thoroughly disappointing, unless you want to see journalists talk about themselves, in which case you may like this documentary.

The documentary also has a very obvious political agenda, but brushing that aside, I felt it was just boring. I gained little from watching this and honestly regret the time I wasted. While it focused on the journalists and not the story, this was not necessarily the worst part. It was the execution of the film which missed opportunities to delve into the details of how the investigation developed. Missing were details of the initial stages of the investigation, such as how the documents were received, the early discussions between the journalist and the source (there were some texts shown, but they were hard to read and had little context), and any additional investigation they did to collaborate the source's information. The documentary more or less jumped to the point where the journalists began to cooperate and dig into the details, and even this part was really lacking any substance. The technical side of the research was discussed in passing, while each journalist described their background, why they became a journalist, and offered their own viewpoint of corruption in general.

Bottom line, if you want to learn about the Panama Papers, it is probably best to just read one of the articles or find a book. Do not waste your time watching this film. You will be disappointed.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Too superficial
gonzalo_a27 February 2019
If you followed the case when this blew up, this movie will not add much. Of course, there are some things I didn't know, but if you wanted more in-depth information about the scandal this movie will not help you. Kind of boring also.
15 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wandering in the weeds
edlaxton27 July 2020
Would benefit from clearer direction - is this primarily about the journalistic journey or what was revealed.? At no point does the documentary explore what PP tells us about illegal tax evasion (who does it, why) and currently legal tax avoidance.

I'm not sure we need to spend much time asking why illegal tax evasion is a bad thing. But equipping viewers to not just get angry but understand how legal tax shelters work, seems pretty important.

Whilst watching, I thought about the documentary "Inside Job" about the global financial crisis and what a great example that was of getting the inside scoop on the causes of the crisis. And, educating the viewer on complex financial mechanisms, sufficient to empower the viewer to understand this was no accident but gross recklessness and criminal behaviour.

I'm glad Panama Papers was made but I'm not sure it equips viewers to challenge their governments' complacency on this
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Self-congratulatory chaos
thebodzio8 January 2020
If you want to learn about the whole Panama Papers affair, you can skip this movie entirely. It is quite chaotic piece of journalistic self-congratulation and hubris. It fails to touch on the deeper issues and the real meaning of the Panama Papers, being content with simplistic and superficial Robin-Hoodian view of the matter, occasionally trying to smear some dirt on "designated bad public persons". It doesn't spare its viewer an annoying dose of artificial pathos as well as an unwarranted and non credible story of heroism (possibly with one or two exceptions). All of that in a boring form, full of exaggeration and repetitiveness, from time to time bordering with propaganda. The biggest question after seing this movie is: how full of oneself can one be?
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Waaaay more focused on journalists than the tax evasion system... and a little doses of propaganda, of course
saldiviape22 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I followed the topic since it came to light, and all that I can say is that this documental let me down strongly.

I mean, there is A LOT of material to talk about in this documental (from now on TPP)... but no, instead of focusing on the tax evasion problem, in TPP you can see how journalists collect-organize-clasifiy-publish information. In general, that's it.

Also, TPP is too partial. I can give you two facts, two examples that you can check using your own means: Fact 1: TPP devote quite amount of minutes on Vladimir Putin (Russia's President)... but Putin isn't holder of an offshore account! Fact 2: Mauricio Macri (Argentina's President) appeared in The Panamá Papers as the holder of two offshore accounts (Kagemusha S. A. and Fleg Trading Ltd.)... but TPP barely mention him. 20 seconds at most.

TPP tries to explain that the whisteblower who leaked the documents (that's how the journalists get the information, by the way... they didn't did the dirty job) just did a tiny piece of the work basically.

Very disappointing documental.
13 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Clarifying Documentary
marcypolander4 June 2020
While it is more about the journalists involved than the content of the papers, once they do discuss the Panama Papers you can be grateful for the clear information on who you can trust. If you are a US citizen, clearly not a single Democrat was involved in this nefarious business. So as suspected, we can rest assured they can be trusted as our moral leaders when going to the polls. Conversely, if you hadn't figured it out already, Trump and family have their hands in all sorts of nasty business. But we knew that. If you are residents of other countries, perhaps the documentary clarified your country's parties as clearly. Unfortunately, in the end, it didn't give much hope of change regardless for those of us not part of the 1% that have all the money. So maybe it's really a 1/10.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting topic but hokey presentation
map-1315022 October 2019
If you don't know much about the controversy, this is a decent movie. If you do, you won't learn much new. The film is usually shot well, although the intentional camera movement in confessionals was jarring. Very much a "puff piece" for journalists that gets a bit heavy-handed at times. There are some really great parts with in-depth information... then there will be another random journo bragging about something they did (or their amazing colleagues), and nothing detailed involving the papers themselves. There are limited interviews with actual political figures, prosecutors, or tax experts. I'd be more interested in the people who programmed the system used to analyze the leaked data, or an expose on Mossack's history and clientele.

Beware of the highly positive professional critic reviews on this one, as the angle of this film is particularly palatable to your average professional film critic who works for a journalistic publication.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Watch it
shreshthforever16 October 2019
See what is the real world like. the clear truth... veil lifted from over your eyes.

all these things are actually happening all around us.. and we dont even realize.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A documentary into the work of investigative journalists more than on the Panama Papers themselves
Salem_Saberhagen_15 February 2019
The Panama Papers is a documentary that portrays the history of the global leak that involved a now infamous legal services company based in Panama, and its activities involved in setting up offshore shell companies to help celebrities, politicians and powerful figures from around the globe, in avoiding taxes, money laundering, and other financial crimes. This issue, of global relevance since it involves sistemic corruption in the global financial system and most countries around the world, was, however, poorly explained in this movie.

Being from Argentina, I was interested in this documentary because our President was one of the many figures in Western politics mentioned in this scandal. However, as in the other cases mentioned on the movie, the movie barely makes a passing mention of the case and doesn't bother to explain it in detail. Instead of explaining, step by step, how the process of setting up an offshore company works, exactly what each politician mentioned was involved in, and what the evidence against them was (which could have helped bring transparency into this important issue), the movie wastes time (more than an hour to be precise) talking about the journalists involved, how their investigation took place, and describing their collaborative international process in combing through the evidence, in what feels like a self-congratulatory exercise. While in itself interesting, I believe me and most of the audience were more interested in the actual contents of the Panama Papers itself and not on the journalistic process which made it happen. The documentary, in my opinion, gives an undue weight on this aspect of the story. The second part, on which the arrests made in Panama are described, is more interesting, but this extends for only 20 minutes, before we are back to the journalistic side of the story again.

I also did not appreciate the cheap emotional appeals introduced in the movie from the very beginning, on which faces of ordinary people from around the world are shown, intersped with images of global wealth inequality, and with a voiceover of the manifest of "John Doe" - the leaker of the Panama Papers - describing his motivations. Some of these images are meant to tug at your heartstrings, but they extend for too long, and detract from the actual figures involved in the Papers. In some cases I found them downright misleading and manipulative, like at the very beginning, while an Argentinian journalist is talking and describes inequality in her country as one of her motivations in working as an investigative journalist, the movie shows us images of favelas in Sao Pablo, Brazil, without saying where the photos are from. (Maybe Buenos Aires was too "pretty" for the emotional appeal they were trying to convey?). I found this, describing a country while showing another, a form of emotional manipulation and it put me off the movie from the very beginning. This was also more wasted time that could have been used in doing actual journalism and informing the public on how these financial operations were carried out.

Overall, I am giving this movie a 7/10 because this is a very important global issue, and this movie is trying to raise awareness of it, so I believe it is a well-intentioned movie. Many of the points raised and the descriptions of the activities of offshore funds shown in the movie are indeed informative and relevant. But my advice is that if you are interested in the Panama Papers themselves, you will have to go to the newspapers and the databases which are publically accesible and do your own research. Sadly, an opportunity to describe and summarize properly this scandal to global audiences is somewhat lost between self-congratulatory interviews to journalists and retellings of depressing economic statistics of the world interlaced with emotionally charged pictures, that add very little to the story itself.

The Panama Papers is a very interesting movie for journalism students since it describes the process of how one of the largest global leaks in history came to be, but as a documentary on the activities of tax evasion itself, I found it a bit lacking.
40 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed