Billy Corben’s exhausting yet eye-opening documentary follows the development of Miami’s highly lucrative illegal drug trade in the 1970s and ’80s, an era which saw the previous import drug of choice, marijuana, being replaced by a certain white powder. Corben’s film reveals a city that was literally built on drug money as it chronicles the extremely complex system that goes into importing and distributing the stuff, a process that includes starting and financing legitimate businesses as fronts and purchasing seaside condos as home bases for keeping watch on the Coast Guard and other water-based law enforcement on the lookout for transport vessels. The film also focuses on the gangland violence that erupted during this time, a war lorded over by Griselda Blanco, the infamous crime matriarch of the Medellin Cartel, a powerful network of organized drug smugglers and suppliers (Blanco would go on to be the focus of Corben’s sequel, Cocaine Cowboys II: Hustlin’ With the Godmother). Cocaine Cowboys won’t exactly restore your faith in humanity, but you won’t be able to look away, either; no one can reveal America’s sordid underbelly quite like Corben, who also recently explored the long-gone NYC nightclub scene with Limelight. Mark Wahlberg is attached to the long in-development feature film adaptation of Cocaine Cowboys, with Jennifer Lopez reportedly campaigning for the role of Blanco; there’s an instant Oscar nomination if there ever was one, and the now past-her-prime Jenny From the Block could most certainly use one of those.