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11/23/17

AMERICAN MADE - REVIEW


With Narcos being such a huge hit on Netflix, it's not too surprising that a movie would come along to capitalise on the show's popularity. American Made stars Tom Cruise as a pilot tasked by the CIA to spy on Central American rebels before he gets involved in all sorts of shady business.

Loosely inspired by the true story of pilot Barry Seal, who was involved in drug smuggling back in the 70's and 80's, American Made aims to show the way that governments can use people as pawns then discard them without a care in the world. Barry (Cruise) is landed in various life-threatening situations he can't really get out of without terrible repercussions by the CIA and druglords like Pablo Escobar. He is first hired to fly over enemy bases and take photographs with his plane but, soon enough, he becomes a courier for General Noriega, smuggles drugs and weapons and is being chased by the DEA once the U.S. publicly vows to beat the war on drugs. You definitely feel for this guy because he's pretty stuck and you know that things probably won't end well for him but he is a flawed character to begin with and comes off as quite selfish overall, plus Tom Cruise's narration is very breezy, so you are denied a genuine emotional connection to Barry.

The way that Barry Seal's story is told is very light-hearted and it's almost like the film is bragging about how crazy this story is rather than going deeper into what the characters are feeling and how all this has an impact on everyone involved. We see Barry's wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) struggle briefly with how her husband's antics made her life a bit of a roller-coater ride but we never really know how she feels about anything, same goes for all the other characters. The film therefore ends up feeling rather shallow and soulless because of that. It is, however, a good-looking movie with some really well-shot plane scenes and a brisk pace throughout so it's never dull and Cruise is charismatic enough to keep you interested in Barry Seal and his unfortunate adventure. At the last minute, the film attempts to have a sad, dramatic moment but that unfortunately falls a bit flat due to the upbeat, happy-go-lucky tone of everything that happened until then and the lack of character development.

Overall, this is an enjoyable yet forgettable film with a lot of energy and great cinematography but little else. There's a really interesting character study we don't get to see in this movie but what we get makes a valid point and is entertaining enough that you won't regret watching it.

Average American fluff.



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