Tom Cruise runs again, this time away from the Medellín Cartel, CIA, and DEA. In their second collaboration, Cruise and director Doug Liman tackle the story of Barry Seal and relish the late 70’s/early 80’s setting. This isn’t a beat-for-beat biopic of Seal’s story, rather a character’s adventure “based on the stories they knew about Barry.” Fine with me, since this was one heck of a fun time, never really knowing where the story would go, and willingly falling down into whatever rabbit hole Seal dug himself.

Unexpectedly drawing smart comedic beats, AMERICAN MADE crafts an impeccably interesting character. It’s always a great sign to me when a movie can keep you hooked, or if I don’t like the main character’s decisions but understand why they do them. It also helps that Tom Cruise is extremely charming and charismatic (as usual), and it fits the character. One of my favorite working actors, Domnhall Gleeson, does a great job snaking and sliming through government black tape.

With only the story framing device (frequent check-ins from Seal’s “present-day” tapes) and weird/annoying post-production zooms barring this experience from being a favorite, it still has an interesting, thrilling story, bolstered by great performances.


(Refer to my rating system HERE!)