2017. Directed by Doug Liman.
By Brian Wallinger
American Made is a mixed bag. A poorly put together biopic based on the exploits of CIA recruit Barry Seal that offers one of Tom Cruise's better performances in recent memory. Everything outside of the central performance is mediocre and forgetful.
The film takes place during the late 70's to mid 80's when Barry is recruited by the CIA as a pilot to run various engagements dropping in guns for militant rebel groups in Central America. On the side, Seal also becomes a mule for a drug cartel, doing runs delivering their product. When it is discovered that he is aiding both the CIA and the cartel his life put into in danger.
The source material for the film was adapted into a screenplay by writer Gary Spinelli. Cesar Charlone's cinematography captures some mildly engaging and dynamic aerial moments. Ultimately, the film feels very misguided and can't decide for itself what it wants to be or let alone fully decide on what it's message. There is a kind of logic to it, but it's clumsy and not as compelling as it was made out to be.
Sara White plays the wife of Cruise's character and between them there are some good enough moments, but the chemistry feels unbalanced and lacks depth. Meanwhile Domhall Gleeson's character; a government agent known as "Shaefer", feels ordinary and exactly like every other government suit in every other film of this type.
American Made is a very troubled film that was made on solid pretense, yet ultimately becomes another recycled studio offering. Outside of the performance of Cruise and some brief, but entertaining moments, the film is a complete bust with an unoriginal anti-American government theme. Perhaps if the film focused on producing a key biopic and not a loosely based one that lingers between drama and comedy, American Made might had more impact.