Thursday, 29 April 2010

' The Latin American influence has given Miami a unique flavour'

Cocaine Cowboys
Dir. Billy Corben
(Rakontur 2006)

A documentary about guys who move cocaine from Columbia to Miami. Even though these individuals were just drivers – you get the idea they still managed to have a good time. The film on one level works incredibly well with its dynamic use of archive, you really feel you're experiencing the dangers and excess of Mickey Munday and Jon Roberts. But more a criticism of the documentary's approach – the talking head interviews which are constant throughout felt a little stagnant. The set up's were so bland and generic, these characters were a lot more interesting and deserved something more than a garden tree interview – why couldn't they take us on a journey? I would have liked a bit more of engagement from both the film makers and the subjects. When Griselda Blanco pops up, the god mother who is in a nutshell psychotic evil woman – who kills more people than an American fighter drone - I began to loose interest. Much like The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) the archive is the film's greatest strength. Cocaine Cowboys covers a lot of ground and you do get the guys story but more overview and not so much detail. That said, it still gives insight, explaining that they used to load a car's trunk with gear and then put the car on a tow truck and then get a tow truck driver to drive the truck – denying all knowledge of the drugs in the car if they were ever found - illustrates that these guys were conducting a tight operation, more details in this vein would have made a better film. I loved how when the credits roll, it's revealed Jon Roberts had been on run from the law for 6 mention was made in his interview – which is emblematic to the rest of the film - more detail and engagement could have delved further into the adventures of these cocaine cowboys.

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