Noir Crime Movie Review: Silk Road

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From an excellent article in The New Yorker, noir novel writing; is defined by Otto Penzler as “Most mystery fiction focusses on the detective, and noir fiction focusses on the villain. The people in noir fiction are dark and doomed—they are losers, they are pessimistic, they are hopeless. If you have a private eye, the private eye is a hero; and he’s going to solve the crime and the bad guy will be caught. That’s a happy ending, but that’s not a noir ending.”
“The people in noir fiction are dark and doomed—they are losers, they are pessimistic, they are hopeless. If you have a private eye, the private eye is a hero; and he’s going to solve the crime and the bad guy will be caught. That’s a happy ending, but that’s not a noir ending.”
Otto Penzler

So is Silk Road a noir movie? Yes. Most will not see it that way, but (I can safely say I am not going to let loose any spoilers) we know the story of the Silk Road. Not a happy ending. I knew the mastermind behind the Silk Road went to jail - didn't know he's serving life without the possibility of parole. I think he was aged 27-29 when he got caught - a long time in prison; a bit harsh I think.

But the movie is a movie - fiction, not a documentary - and there is a nice twist (which I won't spoil or reveal here); if you are not familiar with the intricacies of the whole case (which I wasn't). After watching the movie I checked out the Silk Road story on the net - an amazing story in its totality.

Definitely worth watching. What struck me about how it was played was the naivete of the central criminal character. When his girlfriend says, "It's only a website." - she's missing the enormity of what he created - a new channel for the selling of contraband. Using bitcoin to anonymize payments, advising people how to hide illicit drugs (for example) in the mail and setting up a  marketplace with reviews, etc. the Amazon of illegal drugs (and other stuff). But the central character also does not seem to realize that even as it explodes and he's making a million dollars a day - that will catch the attention of a lot of people in government.

But that does happen to people, right? They get caught up in their world and it becomes their reality. "Locked" into a digital world, they lose sight of the fundamentals of the "real world".

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