This review is from the 2018 Rome International Film Festival. The film was under a previous title of ‘White Tide: The Legend of Culebra’.
The film opens with Andy, a pot dealer, who is wearing a cowboy hat and dark sunglasses (probably to hide that he is high). He asks the question, “If you knew where 2 million dollars was buried in the ground, would you dig it up?” After asking the crew if they would, Andy says, “Fuck yeah I would. I did it one time.”
And so starts a documentary on a quest for 2 million dollars worth of cocaine buried somewhere in Puerto Rico.
The Legend of Cocaine Island uses recreation scenes, to tell a tale so bizarre and weird – that’s it at times is hard to believe it really happened. You continually question whether the main protagonists in the story are always telling the truth. The film takes place mostly in Florida and is compromised of a cast of characters that are only connected by their attempt to find the cocaine and bring it back to the states.
Near the beginning of the film, a resident hippie tells a story about when he lived on a small island near Puerto Rico. One day he finds a waterproof bag floating in the sea. When he opens it up, he finds over 70 pounds of cocaine. Fearful of the Puerto Rico police, he eventually buries it. When he moves to Florida, he tells the tale of the finding and burying the bag at just about every party or event he attends.
The film’s main character, Rodney Hyden, is a businessman, husband, and father. And when the recession hits, he loses his house. Having heard the hippie’s story many times, he decides to try to find the cocaine. The problem is that he has no connections to be able to sell that much cocaine. So he enlists his friend Andy, a pot dealer and drug user to help him.
Next, Andy gets Rodney in touch with a cocaine dealer named Dee, who is shady as hell. Not wanting to reveal his face, he wears a skull bandanna to hide his identity. Rodney’s problem is that even if he finds the cocaine, how does he get it back to the mainland? That much cocaine can’t go on a commercial airline. Dee puts Rodney in touch with a drug runner named Carlos, who looks like he belongs in one of Rodney’s favorite films, Scarface. Rodney flies off with Andy in tow to find the drugs, and a series of events unfold that could have been a part of a mainstream Hollywood comedy.
Director Theo Love treats Rodney with respect, and he doesn’t make him the bad guy. In fact, even though he is doing something stupid, illegal and dangerous, you can’t help but root for the guy. Rodney, much like his hero, Tony Montana from Scarface, just wants to get back on top for his wife and daughter. He is a likable, tobacco dipping, guy who has tons of charisma on the screen. And he loves to use that to his advantage, letting Rodney tell most of the story.
Andy, mostly is comic relief, as he struggles in his drugged out state to even tell the simplest of stories. At one point in the film, Andy comically tries to remember the name ‘puddle jumper’. He spends almost a minute to try to remember the word. The fact that Rodney takes Andy with him to Puerto Rico multiple times to find the cocaine shows how badly Rodney made decision after decision. Instead of helping Rodney, Andy forgets his drugs and gets sick throughout the whole trip. They can’t find the location of the drugs, forget to bring a shovel and spend more time at the hotel than looking for the drugs.
The Legend of Cocaine Island has plenty of twists and turns, quite a few of them are comical. And it keeps you interested as the film moves at a nice pace. I love how the first third of the film lets us slowly get into the lives of the Hyden family, their friends and Rodney’s strange relationship with Andy. We really get to know the main participants in the attempt to find the drugs.
The Legend of Cocaine Island is a wild, funny ride with Rodney, a guy that is so out of his element that things have to go wrong and boy, do they.
The Legend of Cocaine Island Review
My Rating: Full Price
My rating system from best to worst:
1). I Would Pay to See it Again
2). Full Price
3). Bargain Matinee
5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
For more information on the Rome International Film Festival, go to www.riffga.com.