For the purposes of a thematic historical reference, most of the action supposedly takes place in Elba, New York. The city limit sign seen at the start of the film shows it has a population of 2,370, but the locations (such as a large shopping mall) are clearly in a much more populous town. Some identifiable settings are in more urbanized areas over 300 miles from the real Elba. It's acceptable for films to create a fictional version of a real town, but they should have changed the population sign to make it more consistent with the chosen locations. See more »
Standard DTV fare
Crypto (2019) is fairly standard DTV fare. The script tosses around a lot of buzz words about crypto currencies and money laundering. The plot involves money laundering, Russian mobsters, multi-million-dollar paintings that look as if they could have been mass-produced in a factory in Mexico alongside the paintings on velvet, murder, extortion, embezzlement, the dark web, kidnapping, and other nefarious activities, none of which makes much sense. The script offers a few clever lines of dialogue and a lot of well-worn tropes. Performances are often a bit wooden, but the camera is generally rock steady.
One problem is that financial audits, a significant element in the film, are simply not visually interesting. The Accountant made them more visual with Wolff (Ben Affleck) scrawling numbers all over the conference room windows. Lone Star made Sam's (Chris Cooper) research more interesting with cryptic notes about various people killed by Sheriff Wade (Kris Kristofferson). But this film takes a less creative approach.
The scene in Pulp Fiction in which Vincent Vega (John Travolta) injected heroin was visceral and a bit cringeworthy. A scene of drug use in Crypto shows how much talent it takes to film such a scene effectively.
The film is rated R, although it seems tame enough for primetime television. The violence is low-key. The one sex scene involves a woman wearing a brassiere that seems modest enough to wear at the beach without attracting notice.
Several scenes involving harvesting potatoes don't seem at all realistic, even to a city boy like myself. In one scene, Martin Senior (Kurt Russell) harrows a field which supposedly hasn't been harvested. He has a nice John Deere tractor, but can't afford even a simple potato harvester for a farm worth over a million dollars, which means it is probably over 400 acres. The potato stalks are missing. How they removed the stalks without harvesting the potatoes is the biggest mystery in the film. But three guys manage to harvest 400 acres of potatoes in an afternoon. The potatoes have no dirt clinging to them when they are harvested. It really looks as if somebody took a couple of sacks of potatoes and covered them with a little dirt in a freshly ploughed field. If harvesting potatoes is a significant plot element, producers really need to schedule production in the fall, rather than the spring.
Some of the minor roles are performed well and eclipse the major roles. Kudos to Jill Hennessy, Joseph Siprut, Malaya Rivera Drew (although major demerits for the bedroom scene), Marsha Dietlein, and Luke Hemsworth.
The film is watchable, but lends itself to multitasking. Without fight scenes (other than a television caliber shootout), chases, pyrotechnics or special effects, the film needs a strong script. This one seems a couple of re-writes short of completion.
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