In director Doug Liman who Tom Cruise has worked with a few times, Cruise has found someone who he could loosen up with a little, make a lower budget colourful flashy film where Cruise can be a little chaotic and free wheeling.
American Made is a fast paced film. A wily, naughty mischievous risk taker Barry Seal who goes from being a TWA pilot to a CIA contractor who ends up supplying arms to trafficking drugs for Escobar to training an illegal right wing Nicaraguan army.
Seal makes so much money he does not know what to do with it or even hide it. Of course there is a downside, eventually they are all after him and even his cunning cannot evade them all. Pursued by the FBI, Police, DEA, various cartels, Seal really has nowhere to run or hide.
Cruise seems to be enjoying himself on screen, Liman keeps the film moving but in a sense it is a familiar story. Once Seal makes it big, has a few bumps along the road, you even get that scene when you know the decline in his fortunes will start.
Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation6 / 10
Not a bad film, but also a missed opportunity
"American Made" is (of course) an American English-language (occasional Spanish) movie from 2017, so a really new release. It runs for almost two hours and was directed by Doug Liman who is mostly known for his work on the Bourne movies (as a producer) and of course on "Edge of Tomorrow" where he worked with Tom Cruise too. The writer is Gary Spinelli and this is perhaps his breakthrough film we have here. I already mentioned lead actor Tom Cruise and he is in almost every scene of the film. I kinda like him, in other projects more than here perhaps, but I still thought he did a decent job all in all and not many would have given a better lead performance. Then again, despite the great deal of screen time in here, it always feels as if the movie is more about the situation and story really than about the protagonist. This may also have to do with the fact that the character of Barry Seal really did exist, so there is a great deal of historic relevance to it.
But sadly, the execution never really lives up to the promise. Reading a bit about Seal I must say I am embarrassed I never heard of him before and I am sure this is the case for many, especially outside of America, so the movie also has a certain educational level. Where it does not always deliver. The narrative often lacked sufficient focus and seemed all over the place at times, maybe due to the writer's lack of experience. You can see at times that they were taking the Argo approach, but it's rather a poor man's version. I also think the film would have worked much better as a gritty crime drama, maybe thriller. The ways in which they included slightly comedic scenes felt rushed and forced and a for-the-sake-of-it impression is always a bad thing. At its most dramatic moments, such as the ending too, the film is very good, but it loses itself in its desperate attempts to come off as light, probably to attract more people to theaters, and it also feels a bit on the repetitive side. So yeah, there is a great deal of substance and relevance to this man's story from a historic perspective, even today, and I don't think they came close in reaching what the premise had to offer. This is especially disappointing as now it will be at least another decade, probably more, until Barry Seal gets another, hopefully better biopic. Not that this one is a bad film by any means, it's a pretty entertaining one in fact and I recommend the watch. I couldn't care less about the media's decade-long smear campaigns about Cruise's religion and (former) relationships because as long as he keeps delivering quality like he does here, count me in as one of his fans. "American Made" gets a cautious thumbs-up. Go check it out.
Reviewed by SnoopyStyle8 / 10
In 1978, Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) is a TWA pilot smuggling cigars into the country. He is recruited by CIA operative "Schafer" (Domhnall Gleeson). At first, he does surveillance flights over Nicaragua. He's also delivering money to mid level military officer Noriega in Panama. As he and his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) grow their family, he supplements his income by smuggling drugs for Pablo Escobar. Later, he is pulled into the Contra affair as he diverts guns intended for the Contra to Escobar.
This is directed by Doug Liman. Initially, I didn't realize it watching this movie. I was very impressed with the quality of the movie until the credits started to roll. Of course, Liman is no slouch. Honestly, I was expecting a crappy Cruise misfire. In reality, this is quite the opposite. I love Cruise in this roguish role. Knocking out his tooth struck me as extremely hilarious. I love this character better than his need to be loved in many of his leading man roles. The other main part of this movie is the Based on a true story. As most Based movies, there are only slivers of truths. In many ways, it fits Barry Seal well. He's a character of lies and this is a movie of lies. This is a fun romp through a history what if.