By Don Morton
January 21, 2022
A somewhat reductive, trope-heavy account of the creation and downfall of the now infamous title online drug marketplace. Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) was an amoral, libertarian-slogan-spouting little shit of undoubted ambition who hit on the idea of making such a website happen anonymously using the dark web and Bitcoin. He’s currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
That he was taken down, according to this film, by a washed-up and not entirely honest DEA agent who initially didn’t know what a computer mouse was (Jason Clarke, having fun with the role) is a delicious irony. If it were true; the usual opening “This story is true” carries the caveat “except the parts we made up.” So there’s that.
Okay, it’s hard to make a thriller out of ones and zeroes, but not impossible. Filmmaker Tiller Russell, however, doesn’t even try, apparently content with stereotypical characters (fat hackers in mama’s basement, dismissive feds) and tired genre tropes. (112 min)