As most of you know, I love me some Lifetime Movie Network and basically live on that channel on the weekends, starting on Friday nights and ending Sunday evenings.
Of late, they have had some good movies and more biographies such as The Two Coreys about Corey Feldman and Corey Haim and the alleged sexual abuse they endured for a number of years. Lifetime’s (shown on LifetimeTV) recent biography Cocaine Godmother told the story of Griselda Blanco, the most ruthless drug lord known to the world.
Most people know of Pablo Escobar or El Chapo (I, for one, don’t consider El Chapo a drug lord and hold him in the same category of Escobar and Blanco). What people don’t know, and Lifetime explored this, is that Blanco was helping Escobar before he became the drug lord he is remembered for today. She was the one he was getting his supply from. They didn’t go into details of how they became business partners. As a matter of fact, they didn’t go into detail of much, and this was what left me a bit befuddled after viewing the movie.
It was either 1954 or 1959 (bad memory, but the exact year doesn’t matter) in which 9-year-old (I’m also terrible with ages) Griselda is seen walking to someone’s house. A few minutes later Griselda is sitting on a bed pulling up her dress strap, but the man, has to be in his 30’s is buckling his belt on his pants. Griselda doesn’t have a look of distraught on her face, which threw me for a loop. She does witness a gun the man has. This last statement will come into play in a few minutes.
Griselda heads home and she tells her mother the man said he will pay her later. The mother berates Griselda for not getting the money up front. There’s a point when her mother slaps her so hard it splits her lip and tells Griselda to get out, as in leave and never come back. There’s a point to these details.
Griselda leaves her house and heads back to the man’s house, who is not in his bedroom watching TV. Griselda sneaks in, go to the dresser she saw him put the gun in and retrieves it. In the process, the man hears her and as he’s approaching her she shoots him twice and kills him. Afterwards, she steals the gun along with about two or three wads of money and leaves.
The next time we see Griselda it’s in New York in 1972. Errrr, so what happened between her killing the man and her making it to New York. We know she had money and a gun, but the money never explained (unless I missed it) how she got into passport making, drug laundry, and selling. Basically, how did she become the esteem, err, rather, skilled criminal we are seeing in 1972?
Griselda has three sons in 1972 and married to a real winner. But, as mentioned, she had skill in creating fake passports and this brought in money for the family. It’s not long before Griselda is on her own with her three boys, but continues her drug business.
Griselda starts out in NY and splits her time between NY and Medellin, Columbia, the same place Escobar is from and operates. Later she moves to Miami and continues to grow her business and recruiting her sons to join the ‘family business’. She also hires a hitman who stands by her side, even in the wake of being caught and questioned by the DEA.
I was really looking forward to this movie for two reasons. 1. I was hoping to learn more about Griselda Blanco, and 2. I was really curious as to how Catherine Zeta-Jones was going to pull off playing Griselda when, what I knew of Griselda, was not a good-looking woman, especially in her later years. But I’ll get to that later.
I felt the movie lacked a lot, especially the grit I would expect from Griselda Blanco. I just think Zeta-Jones lacked the ability to pull off mean and cruel. Her good looks and demeanor made me want to like Griselda. Even when she was supposed to be mean and cruel, she came off likable. I feel that Isabella Rossellini should have placed her for she played a wicked drug dealer in Empire, starring John Leguizamo.
I remember the few minutes Rossellini was on screen as La Colombiana was enough for me and I thought her character was based off Griselda Blanco. It could very well be, but I haven’t found anything to sustain that theory.
Zeta-Jones just don’t have the look nor the attitude, for me, to come off cruel and devious. And because of this, I felt I wasn’t getting the full Griselda Blanco story.
I didn’t care for the movie as a whole. I feel it should have been a four movie, spanning two nights, to really delve into Blanco’s life, especially from the 1950’s to 1972. It’s obvious she worked her way up the crime ladder, but how did she get started outside of her first kill at age 9 or 11 (if that was her first kill). I found The Two Coreys (blog to come soon) more put together than this movie.
I, at first, thought the movie not worth watching, but after talking about to a friend of mine, I think it is worth watching. If for anything, the tragic life Blanco had, especially her beginnings.
Since the movie just premiered on 20 January 2018, you should still be able to watch it. If not, and you’re smart enough, you should be able to find where to view it.
If you’ve already viewed, what are your thoughts? Do you think Zeta-Jones pulled it off? Do you feel 2 hours was enough for the life and death of Griselda Blanco?