Friday Review: 'American Made'

Tom Cruise’s American Made is an entertaining biographical drama that tells the story of the American pilot, Barry Seal, who transported drugs for a Columbian cartel before becoming an informant for the DEA. While Cruise has received criticism after recent films like The Mummy, his performance in this solid biopic appears to be a decent fit for both the actor and the movie.

While flying commercial airlines for TWA in the 1970s, Barry Seal (Cruise) is approached by the CIA and tasked to fly over South America using a plane equipped with cameras. When the Medellin Cartel suddenly picks up Seal during one of his flights, he fears for his life and accepts an offer to begin flying the cartel’s cocaine to the states. Seal is eventually prosecuted by the U.S. government for his involvement but is released after agreeing to get pictures that tie the Cartel to the Sandinistas political party.

The film uses a light, fast and comedic touch to dramatize the real-life story of Seal’s experience. Seal is clearly a man driven by ego and the desire for more, and both the U.S. government and the cartels exploit this. First, he’s just taking pictures, then he’s meeting with South American Generals, then he’s smuggling drugs, then guns, and finally when he’s in over his head, he tries to save himself by informing to various US agencies about the dangerous men he’s worked with.

Between his personal life and choice of films to take part in over the last decade (The Mummy, Oblivion, Rock of Ages) Cruise has developed a bit of a bad name for himself. Personal issues aside, I’ve never considered him to be a bad actor, but he just doesn’t seem to be used correctly or going for the harder, deeper roles of late. While many may disagree and the film won’t likely be winning any awards, his performance makes me think he’s not completely lost.

From veteran action-thriller director, Doug Linman (The Bourne Identity), American Made is actually a decent film. Reminiscent of a lighter, comedic version of Blow with Johnny Depp, the film tells an intriguing story of a character who is played back and forth between both sides of the law, amongst the fast-life of drugs, guns, and crime. The film stars Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons and Domhnall Gleeson and is now playing in theaters.

3 out of 5 stars.

American Made is rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity. Running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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