The Legend of Cocaine Island

An urban legend about a duffel bag of cocaine buried in the Caribbean leads a misfit band to hatch a nutball plan to find it in this comic documentary.

Year: 2019
Certificate: 15
Director: Theo Love

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How much of it is actually true – who knows? But it’s entertaining nonetheless!

I am a big fan of Netflix’s documentaries, as they are always so interesting; so when I saw that this one had been added I knew it was something that I wanted to watch. The Legend of Cocaine Island, is a one-off documentary about an American man who tried to dig up and take 32kg of coke back to mainland USA when he heard it was buried on an island in Puerto Rico.

Without giving too much away, the story goes a little bit like this: Rodney Hyden hears a story from his neighbour Julian about a huge stash of cocaine that he had buried on a remote island in Puerto Rico fifteen years or more previously (The details are a little sketchy, they even put a notice on screen to say they can’t validate the story). So Rodney, who had been hit hard by the recession, decides to enlist a few people and go to the island to find the coke, dig it up, take it back to the mainland and sell it.

The documentary is full of provocative shots and dramatic re-enactments, which make up half if not more of the film, frequently pushing it toward the realm of dramedy. Hyden stars as himself throughout these re-enactments as he recalls tequila-soaked meetings, late-night Google searches and wobbly plane landings – scenes that are more Drunk History, with outside dialogue lip-synced in scene, than Netflix documentary.

Director Theo Love favours close-up shots on small details such as a tin of chewing tobacco, a pair of car keys, the gator head, frozen in mid-snarl, on Hyden’s desk. He also emphasises the narrative with slow-mos or the exaggerated bubbling of a bong. He focuses especially on the physicality of the harebrained scheme, especially, its baser elements; I’m not sure multiple recreations of Andy’s food poisoning or the slow wringing of Hyden’s sweat towel add to the story, but they’re certainly memorable shots.

The Legend of Cocaine Island introduces elements of an iconic post-recession American story – details that add texture or poke at our assumptions of those who paid a hefty price, in pride and on paper, for the housing market’s implosion. However this part of the story gets lost when Hyden’s wife complains that she had to leave her mansion to go and live in a normal size house.

I’ll be honest I did have to double check whether or not this was a mockumentary because that is the style in which it is filmed. But then again who said that all documentaries have to be filmed in a super serious way? How much of it is actually true – who knows? But it’s entertaining nonetheless! The ambiguous ending was an intriguing way to wrap things up…..

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!



About Tammy

A parent blogger and mom to 3 adorable children, who likes watching documentaries and dramas.

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