Tom Cruise joins forces with director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) for their second collaboration in American Made. Cruise plays Barry Seal, paycheque former TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA for reconnaissance missions over Central America. Fed up with the pay cheque and not by choice, Seal starts to sideline in smuggling drugs for Pablo Escobar from Columbia to United States soil. What follows is Barry Seal caught in the middle of politics and power, a power that goes as high as the president himself, Ronald Reagan. What makes this film even crazier, is that it’s based on a true story!
American Made is one of those films that forever has you questioning what really happened and what’s just Hollywood filler to make the story better than it was. In most cases what the film is actually showing, actually happened to Barry Seal in real life and yet still it defies logic and borderlines insanity from all government agencies and persons involved. American Made has enough 70’s / 80’s textures to become believable and Tom Cruise carries a role much heavier than many he has taken on board recently yet carries it with grace and ease.
American Made is packed full of action, craziness and a black comedy that carries you through the story. After a certain explosion, I was there in the cinema just laughing my ass off and having a good time whilst at the same time thinking, did Tom Cruise really just make me laugh? This role looked far out of his comfort zone (in my own opinion) but boy did he prove me wrong. The rug was pulled out from straight under me and Cruise drags me on the crazy journey of Barry Seal. That guy was chasing an American dream, a Columbian dream and everyone else’s dreams all for himself, even if it meant taking life threatening risks just for the buzz.
I got a very strong aroma of Wolf of Wall Street with this film, maybe the craziness of the lead character and the antics that follow but I think this relationship that I thought the film shared with one of my most favourite films of all time, made me love it even more!
If I had anything bad to say about this movie it was that Barry’s family life was almost non-existent in American Made. We see very little of his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) and her role deserved to be plumped out. She added literally nothing to the story (not her fault whatsoever) and I felt she deserved to be explored in more detail so we could really understand that family, work dynamic rather than just focusing on all the craziness (even thou that’s pretty awesome).
American Made is eye opening. To think the government did things in this film in real life is shocking. It opens up a darker story of conspiracy, secrecy and protecting secrets by any means necessary. Government agencies, military and criminal organisation links are all exposed in quite shocking detail that makes you feel rather appalled that this goes on without consequence. Covering up tracks, erasing certain ‘members’ from the books when the shit hits the fan. It’s a scary world out there and the people in power make decisions of life and death as if life was a video game.
A solid script makes American Made a crazy yet startling film with hilarity, suspense and a Jordan Belfort style aura and a slanted tale of reaching for the stars, regardless of the laws that bind us.