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Film Review: ‘Bitcoin Heist’ (Vietnam, 2016)

650 497 East Winds Film Festival

With regular Hollywood moviegoers, the “heist” film is nothing new, with films such as such as ‘Inception’ (2010), ‘Now You See Me’ (2013), ‘Thieves’ (2012). However, this genre is not so touched upon by Vietnamese filmmakers. Ham Tran, influenced by his experience of filmmaking in the US, delivers to us ‘Bitcoin Heist’ as he gives Vietnamese cinemas the rhythm of a Hollywood action.

The subject of virtual currency is largely unfamiliar to most cinema audiences. Tackling the topic of high-tech crime, the film revolves around Dada, played by Kate Nhung, a specialist breaking the virtual money trade.

The film starts by introducing bitcoin, that it is a non-transactional virtual currency that does not require real names, everyone can buy bitcoin in real money, it can be used to buy other items or even buy and sell on the stock market like stocks.

Bitcoin’s versatility makes them a target of international criminals to buy real money or force Internet users to pay for free access. Dada must rely on the help of Phuc, Jack, Lohan, and Linh, as the squad has to steal a ring containing the QR code, which is responsible for triggering the bitcoin deal for international money launderers in the hands of the “Ghost” crime boss.

Kate Nhung’s performance shines through as she transforms herself into a cold-faced scarecrow, acting decisively and somewhat cruelly as she’s that driven.

From the outset, the film’s sounds and visuals captivate, borrowing energy from Hollywood action styles, with shots delivering a captivating element you would not necessary expect for a film about digital currency.

With fast paced action scenes, kinetic camera shots and a punchy soundtrack in a style reminiscent of films such as ‘Snatch’ and ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, this Vietnamese take on the heist film really lives up to the genre.Bitcoin Heist’ is a fast, compact, true style action film.

Review by Yunzhen Cui

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