MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Cocaine Bear’ wild ride through true-life crime caper


Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Plemons

Score: 7/10

“Cocaine Bear,” the latest cinematic offering from director Elizabeth Banks, takes audiences on an outrageous journey through a real-life drug smuggling incident with a bizarre twist. The film boasts a star-studded cast, featuring the late Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Jesse Plemons. With a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes, “Cocaine Bear” maintains a brisk pace that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Based on the incredible true story of a 175-pound black bear that inadvertently ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine, the film explores the events leading up to the bear’s tragic demise and the subsequent investigation that unraveled a massive drug trafficking operation. Liotta delivers a standout performance as the cunning drug lord, while Russell and Ehrenreich bring depth to their roles as the beleaguered law enforcement officers tasked with cracking the case.

Banks’ direction is both skillful and playful, balancing the film’s darker elements with moments of levity and humor that prevent the story from becoming overwhelmingly grim. The cinematography is striking, capturing the lush, untamed beauty of the Appalachian wilderness where the titular bear makes its fateful discovery.

However, “Cocaine Bear” does have its shortcomings. The narrative occasionally feels disjointed, with certain subplots seeming underdeveloped or hastily wrapped up. Additionally, Plemons’ character, a bumbling rookie cop, borders on caricature, and his comedic moments sometimes miss the mark.

Despite these flaws, “Cocaine Bear” offers an entertaining look at a bizarre true-crime tale that’s almost too strange to believe. With its blend of suspense, drama and dark comedy, the film provides a fresh take on the crime thriller genre. Overall, “Cocaine Bear” earns a respectable 7 out of 10 for its compelling story, strong performances and unique subject matter.