Friday, 24 September 2021

TV review: Cocaine Cowboys, Netflix (2021)

Last year I watched ‘Narcos’ and reviewed it, not overly positively, but ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ is much more entertaining as well as true. The earlier show relied too much on stale use of a few settings – you see Gallardo sitting around a room talking to someone or answering a phone call, or a group of his buddies in a luxurious mansion somewhere in Mexico City – while the documentary relies mostly on TV news bulletins chronicling the exploits of importers Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta. 

Running to five episodes, the average viewer will not be able to predict how the story develops. There are plenty of twists and turns in it to keep you on the edge of your seat as the monied excesses of the pair – who for a time are involved in high-performance speedboat racing – develop into a tale of corruption and cliquey loyalty among the exiled Cuban population of South Florida. It’s almost as though the ethos of South America had been imported into the United States, upturning centuries of practice and delivering dozens of dead bodies for stateside authorities to deal with.

Magluta and Falcon are not interviewed for the show but many of their associates appear on-camera to give their side of the story, each segment of monologue intercut with police surveillance footage or with a TV news broadcast, building, layer upon layer, a complex edifice describing how hundreds of kilos of the drug were imported from Colombia in aeroplanes and boats and distributed to all parts of continental USA. I love a good documentary (as readers of this blog will recognise) and this one ticks all the right boxes.

No comments: