American Made (2017)
R | 1h 55min | Action, Biography, Comedy | 29 September 2017 (USA)
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
Synopsis: In Universal Pictures’ American Made, Tom Cruise reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), in this international escapade based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history.
Review: American Made is a 1980’s story that holds all sort of intrigue and allure for today’s movie goer. In fact it is that early 80’s vibe that makes the film so enjoyable. I often like to use the word “swagger” to define those characters or stories that move with confidence. This one certainly has that. It is a non-stop thrill ride of humor, lies, action, and that good old 1980’s politics.
Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) is pretty disenchanted with his gig as an airline pilot for TWA. When he gets a too good to be true offer from the US Government he jumps on it. This decision begins a world wind adventure of guns, drugs, and money. Lots of money. The story is based on true life accounts from Barry. At times you wonder how much is accurate. But then you remember it was the 80’s and the story certainly fills in the gaps from the headlines of that era.
It is those headline news stories that make the movie so fascinating. Anyone alive during that era – even as a kid – remembers the war on drugs, Ollie North, Iran-Contra, and Noriega. Barry Seal was connected to most of that. His story is as compelling as any made for the big screen. But a story has to be told well to work. Luckily director Doug Liman knew exactly how to do it.
No doubt that Tom Cruise has a lot to do with the charisma we see in Seal. That brother has swagger for sure. His high energy and pants off charm keep the character front and center. You like Barry. Yes he is a criminal but for some reason it is ok. Hollywood is good at that. The other element that makes the movie pleasurable is the conveying of information. There are a lot of characters, locations, and woven plot lines. It would be easy to get lost. But using humor, storyboard graphics, and finely tuned edits the viewer never feels overwhelmed or behind.
For a movie about the CIA, drugs, and guns this one has lots of humor. You sort of wonder if it should but glad for it none the less. The story is so far fetched and outlandish that it begs to be laughed at. News junkies and fans of politics will savor the stories focused on in this film. Lots of name dropping and news footage help ground the tale to the decade solidly.
It is rated R so leave the kids at home. I give AMERICAN MADE 4 out of 5 Caddies. This is an enjoyable flight from start to finish with very few bumps along the way.