Review: Silk Road

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SILK ROAD (2021)

An incredibly intriguing and surprisingly layered film, Silk Road is a flawed, yet exciting ride from start to finish.

Based on true events (but overly dramatized), Silk Road follows the creator of the infamous darknet site of the same name which utilized anonymous purchasing and Bitcoin digital currency to build a digital ecosystem for illicit substances and, ultimately, more. Nick Robinson plays the lead and, to be clear, is an underrated young star that deserves all of the projects that come his way. As the walls close in on his character throughout the film, Robinson emanates the anxiety and stress called for. Alexandra Shipp, reuniting with Robinson after Love, Simon, is a dynamic force as his girlfriend and, later, his moral compass. Add in rough and tough Jason Clarke as a troubled DEA agent who gets mixed up in it all and you have a decent cast that drives the story forward.

There are times where Silk Road fumbles the narrative and plot devices become a bit too convenient, especially in the third act. Certain casting choices also distract from the strength of the film, such as Will Ropp’s young cybercrime detective and Paul Walter Hauser’s reclusive homebody, a role character that he continues to portray film after film. 

All of that said, you never lose interest in Silk Road and the payoff at the end is highly satisfying. Writer/director Tiller Russell has put together a film best described as Jason Bourne meets the Social Network, in a way. Plus you have Katie Aselton, who is always a delight. 

Familiar tropes and casting choices aside, come for the intrigue and stay for Nick Robinson’s acting. 

Silk Road hits limited theaters and VOD on Friday.

Rating: 3/5

Photo from Lionsgate

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