Film Review – ‘American Made’ (2017)

‘The Cruise’ never stops. He always comes back trying to impress his fans and even if he doesn’t always win everyone over, the highest marks are certainly awarded for effort. ‘The Mummy’ was a good flick despite it not meeting up to expected standards at the box office. How will Cruise succeed for ‘American Made?’ Let’s just state, if you keep expectations low and expect it not to smash the box office, accepting this is one of Cruise’s quiet films, then you will without a doubt walk away pleasantly surprised.

American Made’ is acceptable to Cruise’s impressive filmography as he simply does what he is expected to do. He acts well and very natural. He doesn’t show off with larger-than-life stunts or have well-choreographed fight scenes like his MI franchise. He simply delivers the lines that are on the page and what is wrong with that? A minor criticism is there will not be any classic lines like: “I want the truth,” or “Show me the money.” It’s just the new Tom Cruise film and nothing more than that. Let us not forget that Cruise has proven to be one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all time so the fact that ‘American Made’ has that reputation should be reason enough to view this film.

The plot is where Cruise plays Barry Seal, a pilot that lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s. He transcends into an extreme rise and then a fall. The audience are on his side despite his illegal activity of drug smuggling and delivering weapons to the South American army. The fact that it is based on a true story makes the film all the more interesting. As Cruise’s Barry Seal works closely with drug tsar Pablo Escobar, to see his friendship develop and fizzle brings true tension as we yearn for our protagonist to triumph with his American dream. Nonetheless, the moral behind this film is cliché, but cliché works: Too much power and greed corrupts and that power will lead to drastic consequences.

‘American Made’ almost has that Scorsese feel brought on by Doug Liman, director of ‘The Bourne Identity,’ and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith.’ When the FBI and DEA etc begin to pick up on Cruise’s crimes, we can’t help but begin to worry for him, his wife and children. Sarah Wright plays Cruise’s wife Lucy Seal to a fine standard. Cruise deliberately selects his female interest to not be as grand as Nicole Kidman. Although it’s noticeable that Cruise chooses an actress to outshine, it is admirable to see that Wright gives her all and doesn’t allow Cruise to take all the limelight. She actually stands out playing the paranoid and concerned wife. Furthermore, Domhnall Gleeson plays Cruise’s supporting actor radiantly as Monty Shafer, his CIA advisor who is fairly corrupt in his manner, but Gleeson has effective chemistry with his co-star.

Overall Doug Liman has directed a film of decent calibre. He sets the 1980’s realistically without overdoing it. It must be noted and commended that Cruise’s stunts are of his aviation skills and yes! He is actually flying the plane with turbulence and turmoil. It is annoying that we must ask, is there anything ‘The Cruise’ can’t do? A good film, with good acting. Just don’t expect this to be a classic Cruise film, E.G. ‘Jerry Maguire,’ We could look at ‘American Made’ as a warm up to ‘Top Gun 2.’ I.E. He can definitely fly planes with bigger and better stunts than the first ‘Top Gun.’ A fine watch, but most essentially, break a leg with MI6, or in this case an ankle.

Aly Lalji | [rating=3]

action, biography, comedy | USA, 2017 | 15 | 25th August 2017 (UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Doug Liman | Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Lola Kirke, Caleb Landrey Jones

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