In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine ...
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In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine Cowboys" is the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen.Written by
Blanco was killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle as she walked out of a butcher shop in her hometown, Medellín, on September 3, 2012. The Miami Herald cites El Colombiano newspaper reports that one man fired two bullets into her head, executing her in the type of "motorcycle assassination" she has been credited with inventing. See more »
Cocaine Cowboys is narrowly focused on how Miami became the drug capital and the most dangerous city in the United States during the late 1970s and the early 1980s. The film is lasciviously fascinated with the lavish lifestyle and the grotesque violence generated by the drug trade. Many obviously find such material quite fascinating. There's no denying that several anecdotes shared by dealers, smugglers, cops and veteran reporter Edna Buchanan are very amusing. Fans of TV's Miami Vice and Brian de Palma's Scarface are advised to rush to a theatre playing this film. They'll find that the real-life models of the fictional villains are even more flamboyant and vicious (the life of Griselda "the godmother" Blanco could be turned into a nifty fiction film). CocaineCowboys combines talking-head interviews with old TV footage in rat-tat-tat editing style. Shots of piles of cash and large stashes of cocaine are used as would-be punctuation marks; and there are more snapshots of bloody, perforated bodies than you've ever seen in your life.
Cocaine Cowboys is documentary film-making as tabloid journalism. Its cheap thrills provide a measure of entertainment but its reportage is devoid of context and thoughtful commentary. Director Billy Corben is a native, but as one born in 1979 his view of the material is decidedly second-hand. Towards the latter stages, Cocaine Cowboys strains to present Miami as "the city that cocaine built" by hyperbolically describing late-70s Miami as a "sleepy hamlet". There is some truth to the argument but it is a self-serving and simplistic one. Moreover, the content as presented here is likely to perpetuate certain ethnic stereotypes about the Colombian community and Cuban "marielitos" (Cubans who arrived when Castro allowed migration to the US through the port of Mariel in 1980).
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