Review: Documentary Film – Monero Means Money

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You may recall that an independent film about Monero recently topped the United States box-office charts, with gross sales of just $3430, mainly thanks to the mass closure of cinemas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film’s producer, Justin Ehrenhofer, recently got in touch with Cointelegraph to let us know that Monero Means Money is now available to stream for free on YouTube — so we decided to review it.

Elephant in the room

Let’s get this out of the way first. Monero Means Money is not a documentary film in the traditional (or perhaps any other) sense of the term.

Following the obligatory disclaimer, we are treated to a pleasant enough credits sequence, segueing into around a minute of archive footage from a 1978 National Geographic film explaining the collapse of the gold standard.

After that you are basically just watching a lecture promoting Monero given by Dr Daniel Kim at the end of 2019. It is shot from one angle, with the accompanying slides overlaid.

Sure, there are two more short archive clips, one discussing a new-born baby’s right to privacy and one about money’s value depending on trust in government, but essentially this is like a TED-talk without the production values… or the objectivity.

Cool idea, but poor implementation

“But Jack,” I virtually hear you say. “Surely that wasn’t the point?” And you’d be right.

After seeing the desperately low box-office figures at the start of lockdown, Ehrenhofer deliberately set out to see if he could top the charts with a hastily constructed film about his passion, Monero.

This is a highly commendable goal, and he achieved it, along with the column inches (including the ones you are now reading) of coverage he got for Monero. So in those terms he has scored a big success.

I just wish he’d put a little bit more effort in.

Technically, it should be mightily impressive to take a film from conception to premiere in just one week. But this is literally just a lecture, top and tailed with credits and with a few archive clips added. With today’s digital projection technologies in theatres, what is presented here could have been premiered the next day.

In a week he could surely have re-recorded the presentation… or at least edited it to remove Kim’s verbal stumbles and asides to the audience… or perhaps even just highlighted parts of the accompanying slides when Kim does.

The verdict

So should you watch it?

If you are already interested in Monero then it is unlikely to teach you anything new… but you’ll probably still want to see it for the prestige of a “film” about Monero topping the U.S. Box Office.

If you don’t know much about Monero then this is informative, but then so is the internet and you won’t need to spend 80 minutes watching it… 

Of course, there is still the novelty value of watching a crypto film which topped the charts. Ehrenhofer certainly deserves some respect for that. And in some ways, not trying very hard makes it even cooler.

All proceeds from the theatrical release went back to the theatres which screened it, which was also a noble gesture.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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