Cocaine Connection, The (Blu-ray) (2015)
|Category||Crime Drama||Trailer-x 5 for other Eagle Entertainment releases|
|Year Of Production||2015|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Joseph Castelo|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, and frequent drug use|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It is September 1984 and Toby (Thomas Mann), a bright 17 year old from a lower middle class family, has won a scholarship to the prestigious Sage Hall, the collage in his town attended by the children of the rich and famous. He knows he does not belong there and on the first day comes home without enrolling, only to return to satisfy his mother. Toby is of course razzed by the go-to crowd, especially top jock Ellis Tynes III (Logan Hoffman), his girlfriend Alexis (Lucy Fry), best friend Ben (Robert Gorrie) and his girlfriend Laura (Jessica Rothe). However Toby is befriended by Fidel (Guillermo Arribas), a student from Colombia so like Toby an outsider, who teaches Toby how to blend in without being noticed. Toby however is enamoured with Alexis, who one day asks Toby if he can get them some marijuana; Toby has no idea but to impress her he goes on a town crawl with his best friend Dennis (Dylan Blue). With a degree of good fortune they succeed in finding some dope and Toby is welcomed into the in-crowd, being close to Alexis. Later, again to impress Alexis, Toby promises to get them some cocaine; he travels to Colombia where again he is fortunate, finding a dealer and smuggling the uncut cocaine back to the US and Sage Hall. Toby’s product is very much in demand, and his clientele grows so quickly he has to make another trip to Colombia to acquire more. Toby is now very popular at school and even Alexis is paying attention. But of course all good things must come to an end.
The Cocaine Connection is a film by director / co-writer Joseph Castelo that was “inspired by actual events”, whatever that means these days. Although the names of those involved have been changed, the fact that a student in a prestigious college was caught trying to smuggle cocaine into the US is true and we see part of a 60 Minutes programme and interview with Derek Oatis, the student involved, during the film’s end credits. However, how much of the rest is true seems doubtful, especially the dramatic chase during the last trip to Colombia. Joseph Castelo is hardly prolific: The Cocaine Connection (the title in the US and on the IMDb is The Preppie Connection, the name by which 60 Minutes reported on the events) is only his third film in 16 years and his first since 2005 and I feel his control of the material could be stronger. For example, the film’s pace is quite slow and there are some long scenes that could do with some judicious cutting. As well it is not clear just what kind of film The Cocaine Connection is trying to be; it is part social commentary, part romance, part thriller, none of which it really pulls off.
It is hard to feel any sympathy for privileged, rich, good looking white kids getting stoned and acting as if the world owes them, and it is equally hard to have any empathy for the nominal hero Toby; it is his voiceover which propels the film’s drama and he knows exactly what he is doing and is generally unrepentant at the end. On the plus side, the acting from the young cast is fine and the outside locations good, although the film’s budget is such that there are few reminders that it is set in 1984. If the film is intended as a comment upon the “greed is good” ethos of the 1980’s, or about fitting in, one can only say that it has been done before, and better.
The Cocaine Connection is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
The print has nice natural colours in the exteriors. Interiors are more mixed, deliberately so in some instances as there are sequences at parties or in clubs which are quite murky. This also affects the shadow detail, although blacks are fine, brightness and contrast consistent, skin tones natural.
One night sequence under lights showed some noise reduction, but otherwise artefacts and marks were absent.
There are no subtitles although English subtitles came on automatically to translate the sections of non-English dialogue.
English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the only audio choice.
The dialogue is clear. There is not a lot for the rears and surrounds to do; in fact they were only noticeable during the party and club scenes although at other times they did feature music. The sub-woofer added depth to the music in the club scenes.
The original score is by Sam Bisbee who also provided some of the songs in the soundtrack. Additional songs were provided by Future Punx, Dead Astronauts, Jacksie and Kenny Inglis.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Trailers for Temps (2:17), From a House on Willow Street (2:02), Hard Sell (2:06), The Hollow Point (2:26) and Android (2:06), play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There are no other Blu-ray releases of The Cocaine Connection listed on sales sites. The Region 1 US DVD has a slight (4 min) behind the scenes and a trailer. If a Blu-ray surfaces it is unlikely to have any more. Buy local.
While The Cocaine Connection has its moments, it is hard to discern just what the film is trying to say. Indeed, social commentary or not, it is hard to find much sympathy for a young man who tries to be accepted into the in crowd at his college by becoming a drug trafficker and the campus drug dealer.
The video and audio are fine. Trailers for other films are the only extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|