It is still a Wednesday and before the new releases begin to pour from tomorrow, I decided to wipe one film from my watchlist. With that, I finished watching the new English film Cocaine Bear, a film that I was quite looking forward to witnessing. To be honest, I really did not know what to expect from the film as I decided not to watch its trailer. But the word of mouth around the film was glowing with some of the adjectives which were being used was Dope, Crazy and ‘The Best Film Of The Year’. And that really did make me excited about the film which did have a very unique concept to back it. I was curious on how things would shape up in the film, given its ridiculously crazy premise! So then does Cocaine Bear live up to the massive expectations and give me a high like no other? Lets find out!
Story & Screenplay
In the truest form of Man Vs The Wild, Cocaine Bear follows a group of oddballs pitted against a bear. But the catch here is that the bear has snorted cocaine and is a dangerous beast after their lives. The story is fresh, heady with high doses of dark humour. At a concept level, the story is an absolute winner simply because of its theme of a blood thirsty animal. The concoction of horror and comedy does balance things pretty well here. The screenplay standing at just 95 minutes does ensure that the narrative is taut and brisk and doesn’t lose focus from its central theme.
The terrific opening sequence involving two unrelated events does set the ball rolling perfectly. A flamboyant skydiver falling to his death with cocaine trapped to himself does make for a hilarious beginning, following which we witness the first onscreen death in the film. Right from the opening premise, the writers did make it clear that the tone of the drama would be of a comedy with doses of horror engrained in the screenplay. After the initial high, the proceedings do slow down with a quick round of introduction of the characters who in some capacity or the other enter the arena. The fun begins when each one of them starts to get hunted!
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing and I did find myself laughing hysterically at multiple sequences involving the deaths of certain individuals. And while you may contemplate on calling me weird, but the tone and situational dark humour in the proceedings does amplify the drama big time. I was thoroughly invested in the journeys of each of the characters while there were ulterior motives of every character before being obstructed by a bear high on cocaine! The events were borderline indulgent wherein you did enjoy the ‘deaths’ of the characters which were gory and violent!
The drama does lose some of its steam in the second hour, particularly the final act that did not quite take the momentum of the drama ahead from its previous acts. And one glaring reason for the same was that the drama did opt for a more conventional sort of ending as opposed to a dark and witty one. The humour did dry up too and that didn’t help its cause. This is not to say that the drama was bad, it was watchable but that finishing kick was missing. I did expect a final showdown between the survivors and the animal but that was a little flat in my opinion. But taking nothing away from its journey, the screenplay was exciting and heady with dollops of dark humour and thrills.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and fit perfectly in the situation which is presented in the drama. The BGM is good and it enhances the overall impact of the drama. The cinematography and VFX are top notch and probably the unsung heroes of the film. Director Elizabeth Banks does a swell job in keeping things tight and not compromising on the humour which was a key ingredient in the first and second act. The direction could have been better in the third act with its staging but overall I would still term it as impressive.
The performances by the ensemble cast are amazing. This was the last screen appearance of Ray Liotta and as Syd he was just so brilliant and intimidating. Margo Martindale as Ranger Liz and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Peter are hilarious! I was laughing hysterically on their antics. Christian Covery as Henry and Brooklyn Prince as Dee Dee are first rate. Kahyun Kim as Beth and Scott Seiss as Tom shine in their respective cameos. Alden Ehrenreich as Eddie and O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Daveed are sincere and earnest. Keri Russell as Sari is fiery and does a commendable job.
Cocaine Bear is a heady drama which is high on dark comedy, horror and coke that makes for a fun watch.