Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Silk Road This Is Your True Story On Drugs
Year: 2021
Director: Tiller Russell
Stars: Nick Robinson, Jason Clarke, Alexandra Shipp, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Katie Aselton, Jimmie Simpson, Daniel David Stewart, Kenneth Miller, David DeLao, Paul Walter Hauser, Raleigh Cain, Lexi Rabe, Vic Browder, Beth Bailey, Jennifer Yun, Mark Sivertsen
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: What you are about to see is a mixture of fact and fiction. The fact: there really was a drugs trafficker called Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson), he really was in his twenties and he really did strike up the notion to make a fortune on the internet between 2011 and 2013 when selling every drug imaginable online was such an attractive proposition he could not ignore it. The fiction: the man who tracked him down was a grizzled cop in middle age, Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), who was more interested in booting down doors - and suspects - than anything in cyberspace, but once he was suspended for overenthusiasm, he found himself relegated to an office position taking care of the small cybercrime department, just to get him out of the way...

And there's a problem with Silk Road from the off, as it admits in captions upfront that they have made half of their story up, which instead of giving credence to the truth, undercuts it to the extent that you may be more intrigued to find out what really happened than this embroidery. There was already an in-depth documentary on the case which would tell you everything you needed to know, as would the original article the screenplay was based on, which begged the question, why watch this, and that query was never quite answered to any satisfaction, even over the course of two hours running time. All this really meant was the viewer would approach this as fiction, not a faithful telling of whatever facts director Tiller Russell was twisting and exaggerating.

Another issue was that for too much of the film, it treated Ulbricht like the story's hero, when actually the hero was the FBI man who tracked him down (a computer specialist whose Google Fu was keenly honed) and would have made for a far more engaging protagonist than either Ulbricht or the invented Bowden (sounds like "modem"?). Especially when taken into account Bowden was a walking cliché from an earlier age of Hollywood thrillers, the macho tough guy who was more adept with his fists and a withering use of strong language than he was his people skills. Perfectly fine for a Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris flick, but what the hell was he doing in this tech-based yarn? Knowing from the start that he was not the real deal did not make his dinosaur persona any more acceptable and betrayed a lack of trust in the original material.

Add in some equally cliché girlfriend/wife issues for both characters to underline they were two sides of the same coin, you were one exchange of "We're not so unlike each other, you and I!" in a face off away from Tiller's bizarre insistence on transforming a very modern plot into something from an era that had come and gone. But while you sensed a grudging admiration for them both from the director, to his credit about two thirds of the way through a conscience began to call, and the implications of making millions (of cryptocurrency) out of drug addicts and suppliers who were some very nasty men indeed (not that we saw much evidence of them here) were not ignored. Nevertheless, while there was a note of pity for Ulbricht when he was caught, as we see happen at the beginning of the movie - the rest of it is a long flashback - by the end there appeared to have been a lesson learnt, and the libertarian obsessions the criminal had that justified his profiting on misery called into doubt. Yet it was a little too late in the narrative. And they were burying (half) the lede on a fascinating news story. Music by Mondo Boys.

[Silk Road is on digital platforms 22 March 2021 from Vertigo Releasing.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1939 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: