Don’t do drugs, kids. Also, don’t sell drugs. Or be near drugs. Basically just… to hell with drugs.
Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.
Ladies and gents… “American Made”.
The story follows Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), an American pilot who gets hired by the CIA to run guns for them, which eventually also leads him running cocaine for the Medellín cartel. And we follow his insane life as he tries to balance these jobs while also trying to not get arrested. And it’s actually a really interesting plot with some flaw to it. It’s interesting seeing the ins and outs of Barry’s job, the routes he takes as well as how he just runs his operations. It’s overall a really fun and well-paced plot that is really enjoyable. My flaw with the plot is that it does slow down at a point in the movie. Not in the “let’s take some time to develop the characters a lot” (though there’s a little bit of that in there), but more just starts dragging a bit. It’s not too draggy, and it doesn’t go for too long, but it’s definitely worth pointing out as it is quite noticeable.
The characters in this are enjoyable. Some get a bit more development than others, but none of them feel out of place or anything like that. Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal, the pilot who gets dragged into all this crazy shit. He’s a charismatic, funny, and cool guy who not only happens to be a damn good pilot, but also a pretty good family man. And Tom Cruise is really firing on all cylinders here, this is probably the best performance I’ve seen from him since “Tropic Thunder”. Domhnall Gleeson plays Schafer, the CIA agent that recruits Seal for this dangerous mission. He has some charm, and he does share some good chemistry with Cruise throughout. And Gleeson is really good in the role. Then we have Sarah Wright as Barry’s wife Lucy. She’s a somewhat more reasonable person than Barry and does have outbursts when the strange stuff starts seeping into their home life. And Wright is great in the role. Then we have Alejandro Edda, Fredy Yate Escobar, and Mauricio Mejía as the founders of the Medellín cartel (Jorge Ochoa, Carlos Ledher, Pablo Escobar). And I’m lumping them into the same slot because this is my review and I can do whatever I want. But they are all great in their roles… charming yet intimidating. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Jesse Plemons, Jayma Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, E. Roger Mitchell, and more. Yeah, this is a well acted movie.
The score for the movie was composed by Christophe Beck and it was really good. It was tense, fun, energized, and had a healthy dose of guitar in it to give it a cool sound that worked really well for the movie. Then there were a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, some from the era, and even one or two from around 2012. But they all fit incredibly well with the era the film was set in while also helping to give the movie it’s fun mood. So yeah, this has great music.
This movie was directed by Doug Liman and he did a great job. He gives this movie and interesting style by keeping it mostly handheld and also throwing in a lot of crash-zooms, which is very reminiscent of a documentary. And that makes this movie even more interesting since it now has a somewhat unique style. Liman (together with the production crew) also gives it a very retro vibe, which really helps sell the late 70s/early 80s era. There are also some really tense scenes here, which I didn’t really expect. The movie is also funny. Not “BWAHAHAHAHAHA!” funny, but it still got consistent chuckles/laughter out of me.
This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.
“American Made” isn’t perfect, but it’s a highly enjoyable crime movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/editing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, I thought it had some slight flaws, including some pacing issues at one point, and some characters not always being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “American Made” is an 8,98/10. While flawed, it’s definitely worth buying!
My review of “American Made” is now completed.