Some things just go together, like bread and butter; and Tom Cruise and pilot roles seem to work ever since Top Gun’s release all those years ago.
In American Made, Cruise is back in fine form as Barry Seal, a pilot who worked for the CIA, the DEA and by extension the White House as both informant and drug runner.
Set across the 1970s and 80s, Barry is first recruited to conduct classified and top secret surveillance of Latin America after being caught illegally distributing Cuban cigars on passenger flights in the United States.
But CIA agent Monty Schafer is willing to make a deal, if Barry is willing to do some good in the service of his country and, naturally, help propel Schafer higher up the ladder.
It isn’t until Barry finds himself approached by three Colombian gentlemen (who later become the main figures of the Medellin drug cartel headed by Pablo Escobar) and agrees to carry cocaine across the borders that he finds himself labelled the ‘gringo who delivers’ and starts bringing in countless stacks of money thanks to the incredible amount of illegal activity he is involved in.
Shot in a semi-documentary style (there are a few moments of hand-held camera action and direct-to-audience pieces) it’s a very well researched film.
Cruise shines in this role, while Domhnall Gleeson’s Schafer is an intensely career minded man on a mission, which works perfectly to balance Barry’s more carefree attitude.
Some of the source material that could have been quite heavy and hard-hitting has been toned down for light entertainment purposes, a directorial decision that allows the story to move but also creates a sense that, even though you are aware that this is all based on a true story, it becomes suspended reality due to the sheer incredibility of some of the events portrayed.
Nonetheless, it certainly keeps you watching the screen, even if you already know the ending of Barry’s story.
American Made is a finer film than you might expect, and one that provides plenty of fun and entertainment throughout.
Have you seen American Made? Share your opinion in the comment section.