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American Made

American Made: Tom Cruise at His Best in Fast-Paced Thriller

  • Domhnall GleesonSarah Wright...
  • Action & AdventureComedy
  • Doug Liman
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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American Made: Tom Cruise at His Best in Fast-Paced Thriller

After a series of misfires, including the latest Jack Reacher film and most recently the mother of all misfires, The Mummy, Tom Cruise returns to the big screen as Barry Seal; a real-life TWA pilot who, during most of the 1980’s, worked for both the CIA and the Colombian drug cartel, flying guns, drugs and money between Central America and the U.S. Based on a true story, American Dream is flamboyant and punchy in nature; told through the eyes of the trafficker himself, it’s an entertaining feature which gives Mr. Cruise a much-needed platform to demonstrate his skills and show us what he’s made of.

The year is 1978 and Barry Seal (Cruise channeling his inner Maverick) is a commercial airline pilot working based in Louisiana where he shares a happy and a relatively peaceful home with wife, Lucy (Wright). He makes an okay living, but is growing bored of the job – which often results in creating fake turbulence on flights to wake up the passengers – and is ready for a change. Fortunately for him, an opportunity for a better and a seemingly more exciting life soon arises when he is approached by a CIA agent named Schafer (About Time’s Domhnall Gleeson) who soon recruits Seal for a covert operation in Central America.

Intrigued, excited and scared, Barry accepts and it doesn’t take long before he manages to impress his superiors, delivering fast results thanks to his dare-devil flying skills. As it happens, his talents also grab the attention of the Medellin drug cartel – operated by no other than Pablo Escobar himself – who are quick to present the ethically questionable pilot with a highly lucrative business opportunity, involving sending large shipments of high-grade cocaine up north. Naturally, Seal agrees but as he soon finds out, that decision doesn’t only come with the perks but with grave consequences which he will soon regret.

Fast-paced and engaging, American Made is best described as a cross-between Ted Demme’s Blow and Scorcese’s Goodfellas with a bit of Top Gun thrown in for good measure. Sounds like a dream combo right? Well it is.  

Envisioned through a beautifully vintage early 80’s colour scheme and pumped-up by a cracking rock-n-roll soundtrack, the energy is high from start to end, with the film delivering plenty of thrills which will find you sitting at the edge of your seat for most of the running time. Director Doug Liman – who last worked with Cruise in 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow – tells the story through the help Seal’s video-diary flashbacks which ultimately serve as a guide through the story’s incredibly wild chain of events. 

There is a lot of story to take in, but it shouldn’t be too hard to keep up given that Cruise, being his usual charming, boyishly-cocky and talented self is in control. Delivering one of his best-performances seen in a long while, American Made is an entertaining, funny and a thoroughly engaging ride which, if for nothing else, is worth seeing for Cruise alone who, has finally found a role worthy of his talents to wipe away his recent string of disappointing turns.

Like This? Try

Blow (2001), The Infiltrator (2016), City of God (2002)

360 Tip

Ron Howard was initially in line to direct, before Doug Liman was ultimately chosen.

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