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American Made

Film Review by Kam Williams

Tom Cruise Stars in Biopic about Airline Pilot-Turned-Infamous Drug Smuggler

 

Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) was gainfully employed as a commercial airline pilot when he was surreptitiously recruited by a CIA agent (Domnhall Gleeson). The Agency wanted him to fly covert reconnaissance missions over Nicaragua to assist U.S.-backed rebels trying to overthrow the government.

Barry leaped at the opportunity to spice up his humdrum existence, despite having to hide his new line of work from his wife (Sarah Wright) and young daughter (Morgan Hinkleman). However, he probably had no idea at the time that this would be the start of a reckless career spiral he’d never be able to pull out of.

For, after first having his thirst for excitement whetted by conducting espionage missions, he opted to venture to the dark side when Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia) made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Colombian drug lord seduced Barry into smuggling cocaine into the States by plane with a promise of $2,000 per kilo delivered.

Thus unfolds American Made, a real-life tale of derring-do directed by Doug Liman. The production reunites Liman with Tom Cruise with whom he previously collaborated on Edge of Tomorrow (2014).

The picture’s premise situates Cruise in a familiar scenario, given how, at the point of departure, his character is informed that the CIA will disavow any knowledge of his existence, should he be captured or killed, a la Mission: Impossible. The difference is that, here, Barry goes rogue by going into business with the ruthless Medellin cartel.

Who knows whether this biopic is loosely or strictly based on the truth? But if even half of what’s served up onscreen is accurate, Barry Seal had quite a hair-raising tale to tell.

American Tale takes you on a wild flyboy ride, literally and figuratively, between the breathtaking aerial shots and the audacious exploits of an avaricious mercenary available to the highest bidder. Kudos to Cruise, a proven master at consistently cranking out satisfying cinematic fare certain to keep you glued to the edge of your seat.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity and pervasive profanity

In English and Spanish with subtitles

Running time: 115 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

To see a trailer for American Made, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEBIJRAkujM

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