VENICE, Italy – Meryl Streep has praised the work done by the 300 journalists who investigated the Panama Papers scandal, the theme at the center of the black comedy “The Laundromat.”
“This is an entertaining, flash, funny way of telling a very, very dark… joke that’s being played on all of us,” she said Sunday at the Venice Film Festival, where the Netflix production had its world premiere.
The American actress took the biggest applause during a press screening of the film, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.
The film reconstructs the real events behind the leak in 2016 of 11.5 million documents detailing the financial circuits that followed the world’s main fortunes to avoid paying taxes.
But it also introduces fictional characters and details, Streep is a retired woman who suffers an accident on vacation that leads her to discover a false insurance policy, which turns out to be the end of the thread of a capital scandal.
“Some people died for it,” the triple Oscar winner said during a press conference. “This movie is fun, it’s funny, but it’s really, really important.”
Streep said that she had wanted to work with Soderbergh for a long time “because I admired his work.”
She added: “I had confidence and I felt that his masterful telling of something, the idea of entertaining people with something incredibly complex and true and dark and complicated, I knew that he could do it.
“I was really thrilled to be able to do it.”
Soderbergh said he strove to “present a complex subject in a way that would be memorable and that would stick in the mind of the viewers.”
“And we decided that a dark comedy would have the best possible chance of remaining in the minds of the viewers and also gave us the opportunity to use the complexity of these kind of financial activities almost as a joke, almost as the setup for a punchline,” he added.
Gary Oldman gives life in fiction to one of Mossack Fonseca’s partners, the law firm that played a part in the scandal.
“Like Meryl I’ve wanted to work with Steven for a long time, I’ve admired his work and so this is my bucket list, you know I’ve ticked that box,” he said.