Cat and mouse games between detectives and criminals have led to some incredibly memorable cinematic rivalries over the years, tensions between the two usually coming to blows. Silk Road is a modern day crime thriller that makes a valiant attempt at being something of note in the genre yet feels ultimately subdued.

Philosophical twenty-something Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) creates Silk Road, a dark net website that sells drugs, while DEA agent Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke) goes undercover to bring him down.

Silk Road ends up being a bit of a dead rubber, lacking in a number of departments that tend to make crime thrillers such compelling viewing. With the idea of drug deals being done through the dark web, Silk Road had the potential for a really gripping narrative however, it just feels so by-the-numbers and safe that it is sadly destined to be forgotten a few hours after watching it. It isn't helped by Tiller Russell's mere surface scratching screenplay that is as unimaginative as his directing.

The film isn't a total washout mind, Nick Robinson and Jason Clarke carrying the film on their backs. Both are talented actors but they're certainly dealt a dead hand with the script handed to them. Robinson, who resembles Brooklyn Beckham more every time I see a film of his, possesses the cocky nature of Ross Ulbricht enough for him to work as the lead of the film. It was just a matter of time before it was all going to come back to bite him, Robinson exuding a major sense of greed before feeling the net closing in around him.

Clarke, who I've been a fan of since first seeing him in Lawless, sinks his teeth into the role of veteran DEA agent,  Richard "Rick" Bowden aka "Jurassic Narc". He's the best thing about the film for sure but it just would have worked better if they made the character a little more nasty in getting the job done. As mentioned before, it all feels a little safe even when it comes to the characters and the performances. Paul Walter Hauser and Alexandra Shipp can be found in supporting roles however, they ultimately end up wasted which is a real shame as both are capable of delivering good performances.

Silk Road wants to be amongst the elite crime thrillers but with a distinct lack of quality in a lot of areas, you're more likely to find it in the bargain bin at a video store or maybe just a regular bin.

Verdict: ★★


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