Thursday, 29 March 2018

American Made ★★★★☆


You’re making a film about a happy-go-lucky thrillseeker who’s got a natural charisma and is rather into flying planes. Who’s going to be the star? Tom Cruise, of course!

‘American Made’, directed by Doug Liman is an entertaining look at the life of Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who’s good at his job but also pretty bored of it. After being hired by the CIA to take secret photos of Soviet insurgents in South America from a plane, he ends up in the world of drug smuggling, gaining not only too much money for the space in his house but also the thrill of the ride as he risks it all with every flight. We witness Seal as he, like the opportunist that he is, goes along with every new scenario that gets thrown his way. There’s some element of truthfulness to it), but don’t treat the film as a documentary as it most definitely isn’t.


The role of Seal was made for Cruise - he’s effectively playing himself again, but he does it so well that we can’t complain. The character is a nice nod to his ‘Top Gun’ days, and all scenes with Cruise flying a plane are actually real which is pretty cool when you watch them. Yes, Seal looked nothing like Cruise in real life (he was actually pretty large) but the personality side of things is on point the whole way through.

As well as Cruise, we also see some great performances by Sarah Wright who plays his wife Lucy, and Domhnall Gleeson as the CIA case officer Monty Schafer who originally picks Seal up for the job. Mauricio Mejía gave a very good performance as Pablo Escobar - if I was him I would have been nervous of comparison considering Wagner Moura’s recent performance of Escobar in Netflix hit ‘Narcos’, but Mejía does a great job and it’s eerie how similar their interpretations are at times.

I particularly liked the modern filming style, which was interesting considering how well the mood of the late 70s and early 80s had been set with such a brilliant soundtrack and styled cinematography. The film has a lot of voiceover narration from Cruise but it’s also narrated visually, both by flash forward scenes to Seal recording himself talking, and quickfire images that represent the generally mood of the characters as each different thing happens. Both performance and filming are very energetic, making it a really easy film to watch as it’s so fast-paced. Even with all the interesting twists and turns, it doesn’t take too much brain power to follow which makes a nice change from a lot of the heavier films that have come over the past year.


The fact that there’s not so much to think about means it won’t be for everyone - although it’s very entertaining and there’s a lot of humour, the only meaning I got from it was pretty much just “Every man is out for himself”, which isn’t particularly inspiring. That’s not necessarily an issue though, depending on what you’re looking from an action film. Although I’m usually all for the deep and meaningful action I actually really enjoyed this one - it doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and that’s what makes it stand out.

★★★★☆
Hannah Read

American Made at CeX




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