From screenwriter and director Tiller Russell, Silk Road has the makings of a gripping thriller, but surprisingly lacks the tension to make it work.

Silk Road, based on a true story – “except for what [the filmmakers] invented or changed ”- and adapted from the Rolling Stone David Kushner’s article, opens with great settings. Drug lord Ross Ulbricht is a libertarian who wants to change the world and believes that people who gain control and easy access to a variety of drugs are the best way to start “reclaiming our freedom.” Of course, anyone who is well versed in the story knows how that turns out for him and the movie eventually goes down that same path. From screenwriter and director Tiller Russell, Silk Road It has the makings of a gripping thriller, but surprisingly lacks the tension to make it work.

Ross (Nick Robinson) has all these great ideas about how to change the world, based on the old monotonous arguments that America has lost its “compass.” To allow society to regain some control of the government, Ross starts a dark web service that he describes as “Amazon for drugs.” Sellers can post their drugs of choice, including methamphetamine, and buyers can purchase and rate the seller after the transaction. Then the drugs would be mailed. It’s all very convenient and incredibly illegal despite Ross’s intentions for the site, aptly named “Silk Road,” with Ross forming the Dread Pirate Roberts of The princess Bride. Naturally, his business catches the attention of Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), a DEA agent who was previously in rehab and was sentenced to prison for stealing bitcoins. Bowden, a fabricated character for the purposes of this movie, is unwilling to let Ross cheat on him, so a tense online exchange begins between him and the lord of the edge.

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Silk Road movie review

Jason Clarke on Silk Road

Silk Road It barely scratches the surface of Ross’s motivations. He was never really interested in changing the world to make it better and much of what he did was more selfish than anything else. There are flashes in Ross’s personal life that suggest that he is trying to make a mark on the world to gain his father’s acceptance, for him to see perhaps. The movie, however, is not very interested in delving into any of that. Even when Julia (Alexandra Shipp) mentions that her website benefits from the poor and addicts, a statement that is perhaps intended to provoke an appearance of guilt in Ross, fails because the film does not relate to the plot at all. .

It is as if the film was delayed at the limit, but refused to delve into the effects of Ross’s actions. The movie could have been an engaging drama that flirts with the morality of its characters, but it ends up too immersed in the back and forth between Ross and Rick to fully explore anything else. So much so that Silk Road he often feels wrong in his execution. Without a doubt, the story is based on a fascinating true event and which by all accounts should be an interesting movie. However, the film is not invested in a proper build-up and fails to scale and encapsulate the intensity and tension of Ross’s rise and fall as a dark web drug lord.

Silk Road movie review

Nick Robinson and Alexandra Shipp on Silk Road

The film is bolstered by a particularly strong performance from Clarke, whose Rick is portrayed as an understanding character, a man who has made many mistakes in the past, but is ultimately trying to be there for his family. Clarke delivers a nuanced performance, elevating Rick as the strongest character in a story he’s not originally a part of. On the other hand, there’s Robinson, who is a good actor overall, but ill-equipped to offer more than a cursory reading of Ross. It’s unclear if that’s because the material just isn’t there to offer you more or not, but Robinson struggles to find a balance between his character’s philosophizing and vulnerability, making his performance underwhelming.

Silk Road gives the impression of being inspired by The social network, but with a side of murder and a lot more illegal mayhem. Additionally, Ross’s passionate statements about empowering people and standing up for something are framed in a way that practically excuses his behavior and justifies his actions. It also makes one wonder why this particular story needed to be told this way, if not, if it wasn’t going to dig a little deeper. Silk Road It’s certainly compelling and has a lot of potential, but it’s lopsided and lacking in suspense. With tighter writing and editing, the film would have been much more robust.

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Silk Road it is now showing in select theaters and is available on demand and digital. The film is 117 minutes long and is rated R for its pervasive language and drug content.

Let us know what you think of the movie in the comments!

Our rating:

2.5 out of 5 (Pretty Good)

  • Silk road (2021)Release Date: February 19, 2021

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