12th Nov2021

‘Decrypted’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sophia Myles, David Hoflin, Amanda Abbington, Kevin McNally, Clive Francis, Talisa Garcia, Akie Kotabe, Don Gilet, Sophie Barker | Written by Mick Sands | Directed by Tom Sands

When an extremely mismatched team of National Security Agency operatives take on a covert mission to kidnap the creator of Bitcoin – Satoshi Nakamoto – to extract, by any means necessary, the information they need to destroy cryptocurrencies, things go wildly wayward in this raucous romp. The botched NSA interrogation forces together a homophobic field agent, a feminist technical adviser, a transgender asylum seeker, a crypto-anarchist, a racist Brexiteer and an inclusionist MI5 agent. Of course sparks start to fly when their opposing beliefs clash in major way. But a truth drug reveals a newfound honesty with riotous consequences…

Opening with spiel about how Donald Trump’s administration classed the inventor of Bitcoin as a terrorist THEN showing a photo of him hung on a wall with a dick drawn over his face, it’s easy to see where Decrypted is headed from the get-go. This is a film that’s trying to be funny. And I do say try; because this film is not funny. Not in the slightest. To be fair, filmmaking father and son duo Mick and Tom Sands have clearly tried to craft a farcical black comedy, pushing the limits of taste and decency at times in order to make a film that feels unlike any other politically-correct comedy whilst poking fun at the fact there’s no non-PC comedies anymore!

In fact Decrypted feels like a strange modern updating of the kinds of sex-driven “ooer missus” comedies of the 70s. Like a Carry On film without the gloriously camp characters and situations – replacing them with profanity and sex. A weird fascination with sex in fact – be it the act of, or talking about it. And without the laughs it all just comes across as sleazy. Which is then contrasted with Kevin McNally’s bumbling US military officer in charge of this op, who spends his time building a model ship whilst jumping at the slightest thing! It’s a bizarre dichotomy and one that doesn’t really work.

Things eventually spiral further and further out of control, with David Hoflin’s Agent Johnson has sex with Nakamoto’s overly sexual girlfriend Sofia (Talisa Garcia), waterboards Nakamoto for information and generally loses the plot completely! It’s frankly ridiculous rather than funny. And let’s not get started on using transphobia for “comedy” effect.

The only saving grace of Decrypted is the music, with Richard Morson crafting the kind of spy thriller-esque soundtrack that adds a lot, a LOT, to the films atmosphere. Especially where the script, performances and direction fall totally flat. So flat that you have to wonder how an actress like Spooks’ Sophia Myles ever got involved in it.

Decrypted is out now on digital from Bright Spark Productions.


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