Did the world need another documentary about crooks? Maybe not, but this is an exciting and inventive exploration of the pitfalls of cryptocurrency. Entrepreneurs keep finding new ways to rip off the unsuspecting public population.
This review of the Netflix documentary film Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King contains spoilers.
Netflix is in the scam business. No, don’t worry, they’re not scamming viewers, they’re just providing a franchise of content focused on the real world scammers. We already had Invent Anna, The Tinder scammer, and Bad vegan: fame. Fraud. Fugitives. this year alone, now is the time to indulge in the seedy undersides of the Bitcoin era. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King explores the mysterious death of Quadriga CX founder Gerry Cotten and the $250 million that went missing with him. This is an intriguing documentary that covers the whole fiasco and all the conspiracy theories it sparked about a cryptocurrency enigma.
Gerry Cotten is portrayed as a friendly, upbeat gentleman who exudes a nerdy charm. Quadriga CX CEO invested in Bitcoin just before the cryptocurrency boom. In just a few years, a Bitcoin has gone from a valuation of one hundred dollars to that of twenty-seven thousand. He rode high, buying boats and planes until the inevitable stock market crash. With this deadly fall, customers started to panic as they discovered that their funds were inaccessible. Then the founder dies under suspicious circumstances and a media circus ensues.
Directed by Luke Sewell, the film makes great use of the online world, with the opening credits riffing on search engines and YouTube music videos. When a new interviewee is introduced, their name appears on the screen as a notification. There are plenty of those nice little touches throughout, including typing errors for city names and freezing images for dramatic effect. It’s a fast-paced, skillfully edited documentary that exudes kinetic intensity, reflecting the main cast’s breakout room altercations and the thrill of the investigation.
Most of the action takes place in these chat rooms, as those being scammed by the cryptocurrency exchange site discuss the limitless possibilities surrounding the disappearance of a millionaire and his client’s money. Did he fake his own death? Was he murdered? Is his wife in on it? Was there foul play? There are countless theories to explain these suspicious circumstances, and the filmmakers do expert work to explore them all. You’re going to believe a crazy idea one minute and completely oppose it the next. It’s a twisty, gripping film that keeps you on your toes, guessing until the very end.
Viewers may be fed up with the overload of material from scammers, but this is an exception. A gripping investigation into the pitfalls of modern-day online money and greed. The score may be light from Trent Reznor and a masked interviewer makes a Exit through the gift shop Banksy wannabe, but it’s a well-crafted documentary that will shock and excite in equal measure.
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