The story told in The Legend of Cocaine Island is nuts, but you can read all about it in a lengthy 2017 GQ article. What's fascinating enough on paper is far more outrageous in the documentary. Not only do you have multiple unreliable narrators -- the least trustworthy of which might be the government officials shrouded in shadow during their interview rather than the naïve protagonist trying to save face, or his junkie sidekick (who thinks Puerto Rico is another country), or the drug dealer concealing his face with a skeletal mask -- but all of the action is reenacted in a fairly farcical manner with Hyden broadly playing himself. (Sorry, Hollywood, no need for a remake of this already plenty-theatrical doc.)
Confessing to one's crimes on screen and admitting great shame in making such stupid choices is common in documentaries, and for many subjects, the process of sitting for a talking-head interview and relaying the dishonorable details is visibly arduous. But Hyden, aside from one moment of nearly tearful remorse, is clearly having a ball boasting about his tale, relaxing in his recliner and spitting tobacco into a Gatorade bottle, or jovially reciting Scarface lines at a bar. On top of it all, he's gone and acted out everything in well-produced madcap dramatic scenes as if he's in the burlesque equivalent of The Act of Killing.
Until the end, when it's hinted that the illicit riches are still out there to be found. Don't worry, there are still some surprises I’m not spoiling, but the conclusion of The Legend of Cocaine Island has to be addressed for maybe being the first set-up of a potential sequel centering on someone who watched the movie and became inspired. Do any Netflix subscribers have the audacity to become the star of The Legend of Cocaine Island Too? As evident with this documentary, it's a mad, mad, mad, mad real world out here, and there's always someone courageously cocky (and sincerely stupid) enough to prove that they're more daring, if not stranger, than fiction.