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Crypto

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Crypto Movie Poster Image
Slow cryptocurrency crime-drama has some graphic violence.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include courage and doing the right thing. A family feud is healed by communication and forgiveness. Some characters refuse to be bought, while others take the criminals' side. Characters discuss how they used to steal alcohol when they were younger. Death and loss are discussed. Money laundering, racketeering, and murder are central to the plot. Cryptocurrency is suggested as being the future of banking.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite his moody persona, when it would be easier -- and safer -- to ignore what's happening, Martin puts himself in danger in order to do the right thing. Caleb has PTSD from serving in Iraq. He's subsequently shown to be quick-tempered, and it's suggested he has a problem with alcohol. He does however show courage when taking on the Russian criminal gang, who are shown to be ruthless and driven by money.

Violence

Gun violence, including a graphic scene in which a character's face is shot off. A character is kidnapped, handcuffed, and has a hood pulled over their head. Characters are electrocuted and thrown into a river. A fight breaks out -- a character is slammed against a car and punched. Video of someone being buried alive. A severed tongue is seen in a box. Spoiler alert: Two characters die after having drugs given to them against their will.

Sex

Brief loud sex scene that shows one character in a bra and another bare-chested. Joke about watching porn. Illustrated breasts are seen on a computer screen. Character tells another how beautiful they are.

Language

Regular use of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "damn," "godamn," "son of a bitch," "piss," "a--hole," and "bastard." "Jesus Christ" is also used as an exclamation.

Consumerism

A liquor store features prominently and includes plenty of branding for the likes of Bud Light, Corona, and Marlboro. A whiskey brand is name checked. An Apple iPhone and a MacBook are used throughout.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scenes inside both a bar and a liquor store. Characters drink both in a bar and at home. It's suggested that one character has a drinking problem. A character is seen injecting drugs. Characters reminisce about being "wasted." Smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crypto is a crime drama about cryptocurrency that has scenes of graphic violence. People are shot, including one gruesome scene in which a character is shot in the face. Other brief distressing scenes are a video of a man being buried alive and one of a sick lady being given the wrong drugs, resulting in her death. A severed tongue is also seen in a box. Strong language throughout includes variants of "f--k" and "s--t" and some use of "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation. Characters drink regularly, and it's suggested that main character Caleb (Luke Hemsworth) has a drinking problem, perhaps the result of his PTSD from fighting in Iraq. There's also a recreational drug scene in which a character injects drugs. No nudity, but a sex scene does show one character in a bra and another bare-chested. There are some positive themes, such as one character (Beau Knapp) being determined to do the right thing and a family feud being resolved through forgiveness and communication. Kurt Russell stars, but his screen presence is limited.

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What's the story?

In CRYPTO, after damaging a potential billion-dollar deal, Wall Street banker Martin (Beau Knapp) is reassigned to his old hometown. There he uncovers a money-laundering scheme involving cryptocurrency. As Martin digs deeper, it's not just his professional life that could be under threat, but the actual lives of his estranged father, Martin Sr. (Kurt Russell), and brother Caleb (Luke Hemsworth).

Is it any good?

John Stalberg Jr.'s crime drama tries to put an energetic spin on the complicated world of cryptocurrency, but it doesn't pay off. It's a brave attempt, as so much of the subject matter revolves around passwords and computer code. But unless you have some existing knowledge of the topic, much of the detail of the various bank transactions goes over your head -- and you certainly won’t learn anything about how cryptocurrency works.

The sporadic action sequences feel like forced jolts to maintain viewers' attention rather than being integral to the story. Audiences will be disappointed to find that Russell barely appears -- and when he does, his presence only acts as a reminder of the mediocrity of the rest of the movie. Crypto consists of a number of twists and turns. But they're either obvious or so awkwardly done that they feel implausible. Interesting subject matter, but badly executed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Crypto. How did it affect you? Did it feel vital to the story?

  • What do you understand about cryptocurrency?

  • What character strengths does Martin demonstrate? Why are these important?

  • Discuss the relationship between Martin and Caleb. How did they resolve their differences? Can you think of any other examples of when communication has resolved a conflict?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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