Hey, remember when writer-director Steven Soderbergh retired from filmmaking back in 2013? Remember how it didn’t take at all? After a series of complaints about how badly Hollywood treats its directors, he revitalized his career with a series of experiments, from shooting entire feature films on a series of iPhones to self-distributing his film Logan Lucky in an attempt to bypass traditional gatekeepers.
His latest gambit to get around Hollywood is one an increasing number of high-profile filmmakers are taking: he’s making films with Netflix, starting with 2018’s High Flying Bird, and now moving on to The Laundromat. The first trailer for that new film just arrived, and it showcases a dynamic that seems familiar from Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning 2000 film Erin Brockovich: an unlikely and underestimated woman takes on a vast world of corporate chicanery and brings it down.
Based on Jake Bernstein’s book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite (or, as the trailer puts it, “based on some real shit”), The Laundromat stars Meryl Streep as a widow who investigates a massive insurance-fraud scheme that’s benefiting a network of super-rich people around the world. That sounds like standard awards bait, but the film’s first trailer comes across as bouncy, lively, and comedic, somewhere in the realm of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels mixed with The Big Short. It looks like the kind of film that makes big, depressing real-world issues into a fun romp.
The Laundromat will debut in theaters on September 27th, and will arrive on Netflix on October 18th. It’s one of a series of 10 films Netflix will debut in theaters this fall, in an ongoing bid for cinema awards and widespread filmmaking recognition. The film co-stars Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, with other listed cast members including James Cromwell, Jeffrey Wright, Robert Patrick, Alex Pettyfer, Chris Parnell, and David Schwimmer.