American Made

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Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House. – Universal Pictures

American Made is based on a true story or as the poster says “a true lie.” The film was directed by Doug Liman and written by Gary Spinelli. Liman and Tom Cruise are no strangers. Liman directed Edge of Tomorrow, one of my favorite Tommy Cruise movies. Edge of Tomorrow is fantastic, it’s like Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day and Tom Cruise plays a total wimp and reluctant hero. The movies is brilliant and last time I checked it was like $5 bucks on Amazon. Buy that shit, you won’t regret it. So yeah when Cruise and Liman are together, I’m in. As for Gary Spinelli, the dude doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. I was able to dig up a little bit about him, he has written three films including American Made. I would say he is relatively new to screenwriting but American Made is certainly a good start for him.

Tom Cruise is Barry Seal, a commercial airline pilot who somehow starts working for the CIA and while doing that starts smuggling cocaine for the Medellín Cartel. As wild as that sounds it’s all true, apparently. No matter the movie Tom Cruise puts his all in, the guy never mails it in. American Made is no exception, Tom Cruise gives us one of his best performances in years. Barry Seal isn’t a good guy by any stretch of the imagination. He is actually kind of an arrogant, ignorant dickhead but somehow Tom Cruise makes him likable. Tom Cruise almost always plays the hero or the good guy. My favorite roles of his are when he breaks the mold and plays something out of his comfort zone, like in Edge of Tomorrow. Tom Cruise is out of his comfort zone with Barry Seal and he fucking shines. He shines so hard that I’m not even going to bother talking about anyone else, yeah the acting was solid all around but Tom steals the show.

This movie is filmed in a way that is supposed to feel like a home video/documentary. In the past I have enjoyed movies filmed like that, i.e. The Big Short. That style of film making works for American Made, it makes the crazy story feel all the more believable. Doug Liman uses a lot of handheld-shots to give off the documentary vibe. He mixes the handheld-shots with VCR like cut editing (I’m not really sure what to call it.) The direction style Liman uses perfectly sets the tone and setting of the movie.

American Made is very entertaining and crazy fun but I am not entirely sure how accurate it is. Regardless this movie is a blast start to finish. American Made packs a punch with an interesting story, some fantastic acting and good old fashioned laughs. Doug Liman and Tom Cruise have given us a good end to the summer (it might have been fall when this came out, technically.)

I give American Made an 8 out of 10, would watch again.

Barry Seal is “the gringo that always delivers.”


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