Review: AMERICAN MADE (2017) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review: AMERICAN MADE (2017)

Tom Cruise and aviator sunglasses never go out of style in AMERICAN MADE (2017)

Based on the true story about Barry Seal, Tom Cruise plays the title character as a TWA pilot who ends up working for the CIA under Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson). Soon, he leads another life as a drug smuggler and made a lot of money for couriering the Medellin Cartel's cocaines from Central America to Louisiana.

REVIEW: It's Tom Cruise of the 1980s all over again: the cocky hotshot role, the flashy smile, the aviator sunglasses and... yes, he happens to fly a plane as well. Except this is not a TOP GUN-like movie, but you get the idea. But most importantly, it's nice to see Cruise back in a fine form following his underwhelming performance in THE MUMMY reboot two months ago.

Domhnall Gleeson and Tom Cruise in AMERICAN MADE (2017)

In AMERICAN MADE where he reunites with his EDGE OF TOMORROW director Doug Liman, he brings his usual charisma that many fans and audiences come to love him in the first place. Whether he purposefully triggered an in-flight turbulence or escaping on a boy's bicycle after crashing his plane into a suburb, you can see he's clearly having lots of fun playing his role here. While Cruise is the main draw here, the supporting actors deserve equal praises as well. This includes competent performances by Domhnall Gleeson as CIA operative Monty Schafer, Sarah Wright as Seal's beautiful wife Lucy, Caleb Landry Jones as Seal's brother-in-law Bubba and Alejandro Edda as drug kingpin Ochoa.

Liman, in the meantime, brings his comedy sensibilities that play fast and loose in this movie, while keeping the pace brisk enough to justify its two-hour running time.

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright play husband and wife in AMERICAN MADE (2017)

Now, if this movie is judged purely as Cruise's star vehicle, then AMERICAN MADE is definitely qualified as one of his most entertaining outputs in years. As fun as this movie manages to be, it seems that Liman and his screenwriter Gary Spinelli are being vague and superficial about the way they approach this so-called "true story about Barry Seal". We never really learn about Seal as a character. Even with the movie clearly aims to trace his rise and fall as a TWA pilot-turned-drug smuggler, there is hardly an internal or moral struggle seen within his character. All we have here is Cruise being Cruise.

Then, there is César Charlone's handheld camerawork that feels strangely out of place. Although it seems to be meant to complement with Liman's energetic direction, some of the framings look as if it was filmed by a nervous amateur. You'll know when you see it.

Tom Cruise delivers an energetic, though superficial leading performance in this reasonably enjoyable but hollow true story about Barry Seal.

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