Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: Contains violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Tom Cruise as Barry Seal
Sarah Wright as Lucy Seal
Domhnall Gleeson as Monty Schafer
Jayma Mays as Dana Sibota
Jesse Plemons as Sheriff Downing
Director: Doug Liman
Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), 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.
American Made had me immediately interested with Tom Cruise and Doug Liman involved. Cruise brings his A game to whatever movie he’s involved in (even if the movie isn’t always great) and Doug Liman have directed a lot of great movies with The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. Ultimately the movie is quite good, with solid performances, stylistic storytelling and was quite fun overall. I wouldn’t call it a great film and its not one of Doug Liman’s all time best, but it is very entertaining.
The film is very fast paced and kept my interest throughout. There is a lot of unbelievable things that happen in American Made, to the point where they all had to be real (granted I don’t know how accurate the movie is to real life). American Made is quite entertaining, though I think Liman’s direction had a big part of that, and the way he decided to tell the story. Despite it being quite a fun movie, the film doesn’t glorify Barry’s actions, you do get the feeling throughout that what he’s doing a lot of the time is unethical. The film is 1 hour 55 minutes long, which was a good runningtime for this movie overall, it was long enough but it also didn’t overstay its welcome. Honestly I don’t have a whole lot to say about the story, what you see from the trailer of American Made is what you’ll get from the movie, except its more insane and it does handle the dramatic aspects quite well.
Tom Cruise is so great in this movie, I don’t know what the real life Barry Seal was like but for whatever Doug Liman was going for, Cruise seemed to have been perfectly cast. He is so effortlessly likable, despite all the questionable things he does. Cruise was also great at the dramatic aspects of Barry, he wasn’t just Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise again. The supporting cast was also good, such as Domhnall Gleeson who plays a CIA agent who gets Barry Seal to work with him.
Overall I liked Doug Liman’s style, it played a huge part in this movie being entertaining and fun to watch. There are so many insane things that happens in this story, and so this style really was appropriate to show it. At times it did however feel that it was almost trying to have a style similar to Wolf of Wall Street, not that it was necessarily a bad thing, it was just a little distracting at points. One problem I do have with this direction is that this movie is shot handheld, and I never felt like it needed to be. I know Doug Liman often uses handheld/shaky cam quite often but it felt like there was no real purpose to make it that way, it wasn’t an action movie, nor was it a mockumentary style movie, it was very unnecessary.
American Made is fast paced and entertaining, and definitely keeps your interest from beginning to end. With Tom Cruise, the supporting cast, and Liman’s direction, it really works. It’s not going for any awards, and the camerawork is rather questionable and annoying, but it’s a solid movie overall. It’s not necessarily a movie you need to rush out and see in cinemas, but whenever you get a chance, it’s definitely worth checking out.