“AMERICAN MADE” – 8.0
In a word: gripping
Before describing the movie, we should take into account a few tidbits about the actor Tom Cruise, probably the most recognized star in Hollywood, though he never won an Oscar for any of the 41 major movies he has made. Now age 55, looking more like 35, his dynamic persona and physical conditioning is nothing less than amazing, as he performs almost all his own stunts. In terms of money, he is the 8th highest grossing actor of all time in America. His films have grossed over $9 billion worldwide.
For Tom Cruise, American Made is just another high-powered action film based on the true-life story of Barry Seal, a one-time pilot for TWA who – in the early 1980s — was lured into the world of drug smuggling, commiserating with the top figures of the international cartels, including the notorious Pablo Escobar. He is also acquainted with Manuel Noriega, famed dictator of Panama. Intoxicated by the flow of money, Seal becomes careless in some of his contacts as the film depicts him as collaborating with DEA or CIA until the web of crime and law enforcement catches up with him. I’ll leave the ending “open-ended” not to be a spoiler.
Fact is, Seal’s cover was blown when the Washington Times published a story in July 1984 about his infiltration into the Medellin Cartel in Panama. PBS claimed the story was leaked by Col. Oliver North to prove that the Nicaraguan government was involved in the drug trade. North remains a controversial figure for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.
The film is fast-paced, complete with action and quick dialogue, typical of Tom Cruise. Not really a movie for kids, as the ubiquitous “F” is bantered about from almost every character. Some suggestive sex scenes, but nothing close to X-rated.
It captures attention, moves quickly and arouses more curiosity because it is based on a true story – with some creative liberties taken by the screenwriters and director.
It’s a good movie, mainly because of Tom Cruise. I give it an 8 out of 10.