Everything But Crypto, Or How the ‘Crypto’ Movie Does Not Live Up to Its Name
The very best news for crypto lovers about the movie “Crypto” is that “Crypto” has remarkably little to do with crypto. It is mainly interested in about Russian mafiosi, money laundering and the primary character who plods through the heavy plot with the impact of a pessimistic zombie.
Cryptocurrencies do make three appearances in the movie:
1. It is exposed that a significant bank, since (one character describes) such banks are horrified at being made worthless by cryptocurrencies, is privately buying crypto in order to drive the price up, on the theory that high prices will make cryptocurrencies unaffordable and dissuade individuals from obtaining them. I am not sure this makes sense, because I was under the impression that increasing prices make cryptocurrencies not less but more attractive to the general public (thus the bitcoin purchasing frenzy at $20,000). But this is not a major plot point. (mind you, I wouldn't put this past any bank!)
2. The Russian mob, which is washing money through that exact same bank, is doing a few of its launderings by the usage of crypto. The details of this are unclear, however, it is obviously being performed in league with among the bank's staff members, so # 2 might be linked to # 1 above. Or maybe not. (probably not)
3. One significant character, who owns a failing discount rate liquor store, is making a lot of money by buying initial coin offerings (ICO's). He is likewise mining crypto with a computer system set-up in his store's back space. It's that simple! (well, what do movie companies know?)
All of this is checked out, or stumbled upon, by the film's main character, Martin Duran, played by Beau Knapp. Martin is presumably a top-ranked business school graduate who has a fairly ordinary task as a compliance officer for the major bank. After he outrages the bank's brass by nixing a proposed huge customer, he is punished by being moved to the bank's branch in his own home town, a little farming community.
Although many scenes are embedded in that bank branch (which does not look like a bank), no consumers ever appear. Regardless, Martin's new job as the branch's compliance officer involves a particular brief to keep an eye out for money laundering. I was not mindful that individual bank branches had compliance officers, but never mind.
The gallery's financial resources are indeed suspicious, and the location is linked to the Russian mob, represented locally by Vincent Kartheiser (of “Mad Men” popularity). The mob gets wind that Martin, with the aid of his good friend, the liquor store owner, who also happens to be a genius hacker, (surprise, surprise) is checking out its affairs. The mob disapproves. Kartheiser gets his vengeance by out-acting Knapp (Martin). Also, there is mayhem and violence as there should be when dealing with the Russian mob.
A parallel story involves Martin Duran's family, from which Martin has actually been estranged. His sibling (played by Luke Hemsworth), a damaged Iraq war veteran, is no happier to see Martin than we are. His widowed farmer dad, played by Kurt Russell, in one of the grimiest t-shirts ever seen onscreen, is gruff but stirring and appears to harbor the dream that his kids will reunite.
At the end (spoiler alert!), they do. And all is well. Martin leaves the depravities of Wall Street to return to the household farm, where he helps his daddy and bro dig up potatoes. Martin and his bro smile for the very first time in the movie. And Martin sets up a crypto mining operation in a home office. After all, it's really that simple, right?