‘American Made’ review

Kristofer Gossett, Ph.D., Contributing writer

“American Made” is an interesting title for a film that was marketed as a feel-good “Tom Cruise is the good guy who has fun and smiles his way to an ending fitting a protagonist as charming as Tom Cruise.”
That was the movie I went in to see and, honestly, I would have been OK with that.
Cruise is still at the top of his game and he rarely falters even in movies that are not so good (case in point, this summer’s “The Mummy”).
As the movie started to move forward into the major plot points, it was very apparent this was not really the movie I was going to see.
Doug Liman (“Jason Bourne” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”) had another story to tell, and it was much more intriguing than the one I thought I was going to see.
The movie is based off of the real-life story of Barry Seal who was recruited to do photographic reconnaissance over Central American countries in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The CIA recruited him to make these runs and provided him with a considerable amount of incentive in the form of cash, planes and land.
Cruise plays Barry as a charming yet morally challenged individual who skirts by with his audacity and charm as long as he can.
I can’t really give away the plot points, but it’s one of those rare movies that captivates you even though there really is not a “good guy” to root for throughout the entire film.
Sometimes it’s fun to watch bad people do bad things for bad reasons.
There are more layers to this film than just a flimsy biopic of a CIA pilot from 40 years ago.
The title “American Made” makes you think about how our culture churns out characters like Barry Seal.
This was a role tailor-made for Tom Cruise, and if you like him at his charming best, do yourself a favor and check this movie out.
It’s a fun watch, regardless, and a rare fall movie that is easily recommendable.

4/5 stars