Note: This review originally ran during the Tribeca Film Festival. It's being rerun now, because the film is opening this weekend. - ed.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Miami grew from a sleepy, retirement community into the glittering, money-filled metropolis it is today. During that time, the city also became cocaine center of the US, as well as the country's murder capital; in 1981, things were so bad that a Time Magazine cover story dubbed Miami "Paradise Lost," and suggested that Americans traveling there might be putting their lives in danger. After meeting Jon Roberts, a former dealer who lived through Miami's heyday (and did time for his involvement), the team of director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman decided to make a movie about those days, and Cocaine Cowboys is the result.

Clocking in at just under two hours, Corben and Spellman's film has a very strange tone. Ostensibly a serious exploration of how cocaine affected Miami during the 1970s and 1980s, the movie devotes an awful lot of time to watching Roberts crow about his accomplishments and brag about his money. Also prominently featured with Roberts is Mickey Munday, a less flashy, fellow ex-con whose involvement in the cocaine trade was in transportation rather than distribution. The two men carefully lay out the structure though which cocaine was produced, brought into the US and sold, with the filmmakers eating up every word. Later, when the movie shifts to the financial impact the drug had on Miami -- despite the downturn the rest of the country was experiencing, the cash being spent by those involved in the cocaine trade made the city virtually recession-proof -- the two men again dominate the screen, detailing their spending habits, and telling gleeful anecdotes about being on first-name terms with the guy at the Mercedes dealership, and owning dozens of racehorses.