American Made: Drug, Drugs, and More Drugs

A Film Review

    American Made reunites Tom Cruise and Director Doug Liman once again after the terrific Edge of Tomorrow.  American Made is based off the true story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner in a clandestine operation for the CIA in the 1980s, exposed later as the Iran-Contra Affair. It is a serious sounding affair, but a film which turns out to be awesomely colorful and funny, which is different from Tom Cruise’s usual running action films. In short, it’s very enjoyable, and makes the most of its true story premise. I quite liked it.

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    One of the first things to note about the film is that right from the beginning its style is evident, as the Universal logo is cut to a pop-song blasting. One of the film’s clever stylized moments features a cartoon animated scene depicting events that occurred in the late 70’s in foreign countries. The film has loads of funny moments, in particular my theater got a big laugh when Cruise’s character said with a big grin, “I’m the gringo that always delivers.”

    You can tell that Cruise, as Barry Seal, is having a blast, similar to other true story crazy comedies, as he narrates the film from beginning to end, recounting the Presidency of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He plays the character with such craziness and enthusiasm that it works. It’s basically “The Tom Cruise Show”, through and through.

       Also helping Cruise is Domhall Gleeson, as an agent/informant. Gleeson is great in the film, and I love it every time he gives Cruise a look of disgust after his reckless actions end in bad results. Actress Sarah Wright, who is a relative newcomer, also appears as Barry’s wife, Lucy, who is very suspicious of what’s going on. Wright and Cruise, in real life, are twenty-one years apart in age, although in typical Hollywood fashion, their characters are supposedly about the same age.

    The production design of American Made by Dan Weil graces the film with looks that very much reflect the feel of the 70’s and 80’s, and brings that particular period to life in the process. Christophe Beck’s musical score must also be noted. After the rather droney, indistinguishable score for Edge of Tomorrow, Beck delivers a more rock-oriented score that is noticeable in some of the helicopter scenes, and the scheme scene. It’s fine music, and I’ve actually enjoyed listening to it afterwards.

    American Made takes a very straightforward CIA hacking true story, and turns it into a bit of a romp. Of course, for some this may seem to be a bit odd, but this sort of approach to biopics has been happening for years now, and American Made is a welcome addition to those types of films. Recommended!

Playing now in Hanover at The Nugget: Monday - Sunday 4:10 and 6:40 PM, Friday and Saturday Evenings 9:10 PM, Saturday and Sunday Matinees 1:30 PM and in Lebanon at Entertainment Cinema: Monday - Sunday 2:35 and 6:35 PM, Saturday and Sunday Matinee 11:55 AM.


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