Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear
Original title:Cocaine Bear
Director:Elizabeth Banks
Running time:95 minutes
Release date:24 february 2023
The film is based on an amazing story: in 1985 a shipment of cocaine disappeared after the plane that was carrying it crashed and was in fact ingested by a brown bear. Cocaine bear is a black comedy about a mismatched group of cops, criminals, tourists and teenagers who all converge in the heart of a forest in deepest Georgia to the very spot where an enraged and bloodthirsty super predator of more than 200 kilos is roaming, driven mad by the ingestion of a huge dose of cocaine.

Mulder's Review

Elizabeth Banks never ceases to surprise us with her willingness to diversify both in front of the screen and behind it, and with her willingness to try new experiences. Actress as well comfortable in a dramatic comedy (Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)), a drama (Call Jane (2022)) a comedy as well as a horror or science fiction film we feel through her filmography a continuous will to seek new challenges to meet and her passage behind the camera is a step further for her. Like many actors seeking to find films that fit their artistic ambitions, Elizabeth Banks seems to have gone behind the camera to complete her experience and specially to approach new genres such as musicals (Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)), action films (Charlie's Angels (2019)) or a horror comedy with this film based on a true story.

The screenwriter Jimmy Warden was inspired by the true story of Cocaine bear (original title of the film), a black bear that ingested more than 34 kilos (75 pounds) of pure cocaine and behaved in a wild way in the woods of Tennessee, killing no one unlike in this film, but marking the memories of many people. This animal became a true American legend and died of an overdose related to this overconsumption of narcotics. This surprising true story seems to have inspired the scriptwriter Jimmy Warden to propose an even more impressive creature going from its real weight of about 80 kilos to a mass of 230 kilos and in front of a real predator ready to kill all the humans putting themselves in its way. 

The result is a film reminiscent of Jaws (1975) with its very effective introductory scene and not so far from those of many horror films of the 80s. What the film loses in originality and at times in rhythm, it gains by proposing many successful characters, such as a park warden, a cop who ventures outside his perimeter of exercise and who is in pursuit of a drug lord, two hikers who will know hell, a brave woman ready to do anything to find her daughter and her daughter's friend, but also hikers who will understand that nature can be even more dangerous than some American cities.

Many American films have featured dangerous animals such as vindictive sharks, gigantic boars, wolves, piranhas, spiders, snakes or other creatures and have offered, with varying degrees of success, stories that mix horror and comedy or even thrillers and action films. In this case this bear created in computer graphics for efficiency reasons turns out to be looking for drugs that fell from a plane and to have a real anger towards humans that he massacres with an undeniable ferocity. Mixing ferocious humor and violent scenes without measure, Crazy Bear (Cocaine Bear) is watched with interest and allows us to discover in his last role the actor Ray Liotta as a powerful drug dealer (the film is dedicated to him). 

Cocaine Bear
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Written by Jimmy Warden
Produced by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Aditya Sood, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman, Brian Duffield
Starring Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr, Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta
Cinematography : John Guleserian
Edited by Joel Negron
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Production companies : Lord Miller Productions, Brownstone Productions, Jurassic Party Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date February 24, 2023 (United States), March 15, 2023 (France)
Running time : 95 minutes

Seen on March 14, 2023 at Gaumont Disney Village room 8 place A19

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