Greetings again from the darkness. Remember that time you paid pop star Brittany Spears one million dollars to jump out of a birthday cake at your party? Or the times you paid huge appearance fees to celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Paris Hilton to hang around your lavish parties? If not, then you’re no Jho Low. And thank goodness for that. Jho Low was in cahoots with then Prime Minister Najib Razak to siphon billions from a fund designed to assist Malaysian citizens. Their fund was called 1MDB (1 Malaysian Development Berhad) and thanks to researchers and whistleblowers, this film from Cassius Michael Kim lays out a textbook case of corruption, fraud, and greed.
The FBI have called this the largest kleptocracy case to date. Kleptocracy is defined as corrupt government officials embezzling funds for personal gain. And yes, that is the where the billions of dollars come in, however, in this day and age, celebrities must be involved for the general public to much care. To satisfy these viewers, the montage of associated celebrities is impressive, and the use of these funds to finance Martin Scorsese’s Oscar nominated film, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2014), may provide the perfect example of irony. Government corruption funding a film highlighting Wall Street corruption. To top it off, that scenario is then used as the basis for a documentary focused on the two key players behind this conspiracy of fraudulent activity.
In addition to Jho Low, Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the celebs, the story also involves Najib’s wife, the FBI, Goldman Sachs executives, and numerous other folks who got caught up in the web of greed. Wherever there is dirty money being spent, you can be assured there are dirty people involved. Filmmaker Kim allows many to communicate their perspectives and observations on Jho Low, though the reality is that he remains a somewhat mysterious figure. An enigma who, while conspiring with the head of a country, managed to live the high life by spending money bilked from Malaysians.
A 22-carat diamond ended up with the Prime Minister’s wife, and both of them got what they deserved in the end. However, the newest game of “Where’s Waldo?” is now called, “Where’s Jho Low?” He is the titular man on run, while others pay the price … including a country that teetered on financial failure. The director does include an interview with the former Prime Minister, and we do hear from others who are familiar with the case. Unfortunately, none of the celebrities who accepted the fees agreed to appear on camera, either due to shame or fear of self-incrimination. Still, there is plenty of slime on display.
In select theaters beginning September 22, 2023