DETROIT (WWJ) – ‘American Made’ is a story that, if it weren’t based on a true story, would be very hard to believe.
Tom Cruise (whom WWJ Midday Anchor Jackie Paige refers to as “the best actor in Hollywood”) stars as airplane pilot Barry Seal who went from flying planes for TWA to undercover operative for the CIA, to smuggling drugs for the ruthless Medellin drug cartel in Colombia. Seal was enjoying a comfortable life with his family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when he was approached by the CIA to conduct surveillance on communist activities in Central America. He also delivered weapons to rebels who were fighting against the communists.
Cartel bosses learned of Seal’s repeated trips and recruited him to smuggle drugs from Colombia into the United States. Seal couldn’t get the federal government to give him a pay raise, plus he had the means to do it, so he decided to take advantage of the situation.
Where others failed, Seal succeeded and because he was so daring, he grew to become one of the wealthiest men in 1980’s America. But, all of that money and the notoriety that accompanied it, ultimately came with a price.
‘American Made’ puts Cruise back in the pilot’s seat, although this role is a far different one than the role he played in 1986’s ‘Top Gun’. And even though Cruise certainly has had a number of memorable roles since then, his performance as Barry Seal ranks right up there at the top. I was thoroughly engrossed in ‘American Made’ from start to finish; in large part because of Cruise, of course, but credit is also due to the screenwriter, Gary Spinelli, who did an excellent job tying this story together, and Director Doug Liman.
I liked ‘American Made’ a lot and I think audiences will, too.
Co-starring along with Cruise are Sarah Wright Olsen, who portrays his wife, Lucy; and Domhnall Gleeson as CIA operative Monty Schafer.
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Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)
Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)