Theo Love’s documentary “The Legend of Cocaine Island,” now streaming on Netflix, chronicles the harebrained execution of a preposterous scheme.
As fans of the “Florida man” meme may have sussed out, the story takes place in that state.
Love chronicles a hapless, middle-aged nincompoop’s efforts to recover a stash of cocaine with a mix of interviews and re-enactments, and in a flashy, colorful style that lands between “Pain & Gain,” Michael Bay’s tale of inane Sunshine State swindlers, and “Fargo” with gators.
The director (2014’s “Little Hope Was Arson”) can lay it on thick with the comic scene setups and James Bond-like soundtrack. Then again, this underlines the silliness of Rodney Hyden’s odyssey.
A contractor in Central Florida, Hyden was hit hard by the 2008 recession. Needing cash, he eventually set out to retrieve the bags of coke an eccentric neighbor claimed he had buried on Culebra, an island off Puerto Rico. (The documentary was presented at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival as “White Tide: The Legend of Culebra.”)
Since Hyden had no idea how to either get the drugs or sell them, he hooked up with a Z team that included a doped-up goofball and a mysterious operator named Carlos. “I just liked that guy,” Hyden says. Carlos reminds him of Tony Montana, and unfortunately, Hyden has watched “Scarface” a lot.
Love is not judgmental about Hyden, and lets him be his sunny, deluded self — down to a willful obliviousness about the realities of drug trafficking and use.
Charged with intent to distribute cocaine, Hyden got 60 days in prison, a year of home detention and community service. It’s hard not to ponder what the verdict would have been had he not been white.