Film Reviews
American Made (Rated: 15)
Love Bridgnorth film reviewer Charlie Pugh gives us his take on American Made – now showing at Bridgnorth Majestic Cinema.

Times: Daily: 3:00pm and 8:15pm

Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) a former TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to prevent the growing communist threat in Central America during the 1980’s. However Barry’s actions would end up causing the rise of the Medellin Cartel when they also recruit him to smuggle drugs, almost bringing down the Reagan administration itself as a result….

Biopics are notoriously one of the most oversaturated genres when it comes to awards season. Although most of them end up being pretentious and slow paced, if the director can bring his own flair to the material like Martin Scorsese with Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street or Tim Burton with Ed Wood and Big Eyes, they can end up being creative enough to justify bringing these true life stories to the screen.

Doug Liman of Mr and Mrs SmithThe Bourne Identity and the criminally underrated Edge of Tomorrow thankfully fits into this category by giving the true life story of Barry Seal’s double life as a CIA operative and as a drug smuggler throughout the late 1970’s and early 1980’s; the feel of  a film is that of one made in that time period with the opening logos changing into their 70’s counterparts and the constant cuts to real vintage footage of Roland Reagan’s attempts to stop the drug crisis of Central America gives this film a feeling of earned reality.

Although Tom Cruise never really manages to overcome the illusion of becoming a character, his interpretation of Seal, who has been portrayed on film before by Michael Pare in last year’s The Infiltrator and the late Dennis Hopper in the 1991 Docudrama Doublecrossed, does manage to give across the sense of a charming lawbreaker who anyone would believe. Although the Drug Smugglers themselves get some funny moments, the rest of the cast such as Domhnall Gleeson’s CIA operative and Sarah Wright’s wife character are mostly forgettable.

Overall, American Made is a well made tribute to Seal’s double life, in which despite it’s status as a biopic, does manage to have an identity of it’s own thanks to the impressive cinematography and it’s ability to keep audiences who usually can’t stand these types of films entertained, with it’s witty screenplay.

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