Cocaine Cowboys 

 
2006
With the past few years having witnessed a renaissance in socially conscious documentary filmmaking, "Cocaine Cowboys" marches to its own politically incorrect drummer. Director Billy Corben ("Raw Deal") zeroes in on the cocaine trade that flourished in Miami throughout the late Seventies and early Eighties, an era when that city's murder rate skyrocketed right along with the economy.
 
"Cocaine Cowboys" seems ready-made for the E! network. It's violent, lurid, trashy and often morally irresponsible.

Oh, it's also enormously entertaining.
 
In revisiting that hedonistic era of real-life Miami vice, Corben employs everything from the cheesy re-enactment of gangland massacres to oodles of blood-spattered TV news footage. But the biggest coup might be some jaw-dropping anecdotes by the drug runners, dealers and cartel hit men who somehow survived those outlaw days.
 
Still, make no mistake: "Cocaine Cowboys" is aimed squarely at true-crime fans who like their entertainment to be riddled with bullets.

-Phil Bacharach

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