SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! Writer-director Trygve Luktvasslimo’s The Bitcoin Car is a Norwegian fable about green energy and blockchains that does not appear to have heard of Proof of Stake. That’s OK, I barely have. Quick definition: a PoS is a consensus mechanism for processing transactions and creating new blocks in a blockchain. While that might sound like an unnecessarily technical response to a surreal opera from a fine arts student, I fear it is a fair criticism of a project that is perhaps a little off-beam, with a simple error in conception accumulating throughout the story. To explain: Nearly every blockchain has been transitioning to PoS technology stacks that use no more power than an ordinary computer, and if I’m not mistaken, this film doesn’t seem to have that in its calculations. It takes its ball and runs in the opposite direction.
However, it’s about Bitcoin specifically, which uses the same energy as a small sun, so I’m splitting hairs here. It’s all cool either way because the central plot is partly a hostage to technological verisimilitude, but the rest of Luktvasslimo’s film is perky, inventive, and thoroughly charming.
“Everyone got compensation for allowing the carbuncle to be built on top of the village graveyard…”
We open on an amusing male modeling shoot. Lukas (Henrik Paus) clasps a Van De Graaf generator, his long blonde hair standing up in ropes. At the same time, the photographer snaps away and pervily exclaims how wonderfully full of electrons he is.
The Bitcoin Car then follows Lukas as he flies back to his home in Valberg, Norway. He is picked up at the airport by his sister, Gloria (Sunniva Birkeland Johansen), in a $50 Toyota covered in gold. As she drives him home, we see a giant, gold, Guggenheim-esque monstrosity freshly nestled into the pristine green of the landscape. Next to it is a massive gold pylon. A Bitcoin mine has been built there, Gloria explains. Everyone got compensation for allowing the carbuncle to be built on top of the village graveyard, with all the graves still in place beneath it, Poltergeist style. Gloria tells Lukas that she used the money from the desecration of their parent’s grave to “pimp” her Toyota.
The origin of all this madness is Rita (Zoe Winther-Hansen), a young and beautiful Norwegian crypto mogul wearing a cavalier’s helmet, much like Marvin the Martian. She travels flanked by children waving Norwegian flags like a freshly minted monarch. Rounding out the main leads is Johannes Winther Farstad as electrical engineer Viljami, who is investigating issues with the local power grid that seem to have been caused by the mine.
"…all a bit Lynchian..."