I Am DB Cooper review – let the carousel of posers continue

By Marc Miller
Published: December 20, 2022 (Last updated: January 4, 2024)


I Am DB Cooper is stretched so thin that the lack of a story here is painfully transparent.

We review the film I Am DB Cooper, which does not contain spoilers.

I love a good conspiracy theory. Combining that with a mystery that has stood the test of time is an addiction for me. The mystery of the domestic terrorist (I mean, he stole a plane, correct?) known as D.B. Cooper has remained a great conundrum. How does a man (are we sure it was a man?), over a half-century ago, supposedly leap into that dark, cold Pacific Northwest night with bags of cash strapped to his back, never been found? And virtually nothing is known about him, except he had slick, shiny jet-black hair and wore a suit like Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black. (Now that would explain it all!). So, I am ready to confess; I Am DB Cooper. I’m not the subject of this exaggerated, watered-down, Unsolved Mysterieslike film. It was me, so now we can stop making them.

I am DB Cooper reviewing and plot summary

According to this tall tale of the Cooper legend, an older adult male, Rodney Bonniefield, claims to be the notorious robber baron. He is sporting a primarily white, with a hint of grey, unkempt beard, while also wearing his trusty hat, which is coming apart at the seams. Always armored with a hoody, cheap sneakers, and probably the same pair of blue jeans over the film’s duration, yes, this man claims to jump out of that Boeing 727-51. It’s OK to wonder that this doesn’t look like a man living the high life. He lives in a home and on a plot of land that looks like a pseudo-quasi-alternative setting where you may find Steven Avery. If Bonniefield is the man, why isn’t he rich? It’s a question, surprisingly, that has no answer.

Two brothers who believe Rodney is DB Cooper are the bounty hunters who arrested him. That doesn’t exactly scream trustworthy confidence builder. However, they insist that in some of these stories and the context, Bonniefield describes the crime in a way no one else would know. The problem here is that after watching a half dozen of these documentaries over the past decade, the subject offers nothing. Other than his escape, which cannot be proven, the hook here is that Rodney claims the cash is buried under a black rock along the shoreline of the Columbia River, and time is running out. Why, exactly? Because the bounty hunters know he is going to jail for his crimes soon.

The one new item I did hear that was mildly interesting was the money discovered a few years later on a beach in the Columbia River. Yes, that part is not new, but there has been speculation that the algae detected on the money could be from the ocean. Which means the money could have floated in from there. However, this water has to be dredged annually to provide reliable passage for commercial and private traffic. The algae come up from there, which could explain why the photosynthetic organisms could be on there, to begin with.

This is mainly a rehash and regurgitation of the infamous legend with actor reenactments that would have the Robert Stack seal of approval. And the majority of the documentary’s scenes are reenactments with a highly fictional spin from director T.J. Regan (Gap Year) and writer Sharmila Sahni (who doubles as Cooper/Rodney’s ex-wife). Here, the team tries to make the story about Rodney having a broken heart. Ryan Cory, who resembles an Ike Barinholtz type, plays the young version of Cooper. I’m not going to lie; this is cheesy stuff, but Cory brings an undeniably entertaining spin to the Cooper legend, albeit playing the role with intentional small-dick energy you wouldn’t associate with the brass balls to make the story entertaining, but in Rob Schneider kind of way.

Is I Am DB Cooper worth watching?

The tagline of the search is over in I Am DB Cooper is remarkably premature. By the time they arrive at the spot, it is over so quickly the whole scene seems staged. Frankly, the experience has so much filler here. There are only about 40 minutes of real film here. They result in a story stretched so thinly that the lack of a story is painfully transparent. While I did get a chuckle at Regan’s wink to the audience (with a multiple-role assist by Trevor Butcher) that the subject cannot be trusted, the whole exercise is a waste of time.

Yours and mine.

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