American Made
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Action, Biography, History, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Doug Liman
Benito Martinez as James Rangel
Fredy Yate Escobar as Carlos Ledher
Alejandro Edda as Jorge Ochoa
Morgan Hinkleman as Christina
Lola Kirke as Judy Downing
Domhnall Gleeson as Monty 'Schafer'
E. Roger Mitchell as Agent Craig McCall
Robert Farrior as Oliver North
Jed Rees as Louis Finkle
Jesse Plemons as Sheriff Downing
Sarah Wright as Lucy Seal
Tom Cruise as Barry Seal
Jayma Mays as Dana Sibota
Storyline: Barry Seal was just an ordinary pilot who worked for TWA before he was recruited by the CIA in 1978. His work in South America eventually caught the eye of the Medellín Cartel, associated with Pablo Escobar, who needed a man with his skill set. Barry became a drug trafficker, gun smuggler and money launderer. Soon acquiring the title, 'The gringo that always delivers'.

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Exhilarating story on drugs and dollars
Set in the years between the late 1970's and the mid 1980's American Made comes across to be more of a documentary . The pedestrian routine of picking and dropping off goods shown countless of times throughout the film is nothing to write home about! The film is mostly air borne and I wish it had stayed a bit more grounded because in their desire to scale greater heights both the protagonist and the film get into trouble . The film could have been much more interesting had the scenes not been thrown at us relentlessly like bowling balls and had given us some breathing space. Even with a short run time of 1 hour and 55 minutes this film seemed far too long and stretched . To the films credit it does not waste too much time in introducing the characters and gets to the point straight away. It is a treat to get to know the fascinating true story of a man who worked for four different agencies together. Some scenes are quite thrilling and rescue the film from its otherwise dry spell. Tom cruise does a good job though his Southern accent seems a bit forced. The others have a comparatively smaller role but they all manage to hold the film together. If you are a fan of the slick crime thrillers and don't mind more crime and less thrill mostly piloted by the charismatic Tom Cruise then this ones the perfect weekend watch for you!
Satirical bio from Doug Liman
'American Made' is about a US pilot who managed to work both for the CIA and for the Medelin cartel in Colombia, and later – for the DEA. The CIA received valuable pictures of military bases in the South America and supplied weapons to the local anti-communist groups, while cartel sent drugs to the US. These illegal operations allowed Seal to gain wealth, but it has not guaranteed him long and easy life. One needs to know one thing about the movie. Doug Liman is a director here. A director with recognizable style. He has authored famous actions movies, including 'The Bourne Identity', 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' and 'The Edge of Tomorrow'. Tom Cruise starred the latter one, by the way. Contrary to the previous works in 'American Made' Liman is forced to put up the level and to discuss serious topics in his light manner. This is not the first time, when the director refers to complicated themes ('Fair Game'), but before it looked less persuasive. The joint mostly creates associations with another satirical bio, 'Wolf of Wall-Street' from Scorsese. Well, one can hardly compete with Scorsese in deepness and multidimensional coverage, but still methods used here by Liman very much remind those ones Scorsese used earlier. Of course, a reservation has to be made that some real facts were changed to simplify the plot and to give the movie more artistic attractiveness. Also this movie would hardly become the most favorite one for the audience as it could happen to 'Bourne Identity' and 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith'. Nevertheless, this is one of the best movies of the year and a praiseworthy return of Tom Cruise into dramatic acting (after 'The Mummy').
Didn't go far enough
Tom Cruise is an interesting actor to me.  He is rock solid when he is doing his action thing in films like EDGE OF TOMORROW or the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series - it doesn't get much better than he is in these films.  It is when he tries to break free from the "Action Hero" stereotype that his track record is spotty.  For every MAGNOLIA or TROPIC THUNDER there is an EYES WIDE SHUT or INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.  So how did he do when he went off the beaten path once again in American MADE?

He did just fine.  Not GREAT, not POORLY...he did fine.

And that's the issue with this film - it is "fine", where it needed to be "crazy great" to succeed.

American MADE tells the "based on a true story" tale of Barry Seal a TWA pilot who becomes a pilot for the CIA, he gets in deeper and deeper and, eventually, is the one the leading players in what would become to be known as the Iran-Contra scandal during the Ronald Regan Presidency.

Cruise, on paper, looks like a good choice to play Seal.  He has the swagger and the "devil-may-care" attitude that is needed.  What Cruise is lacking, I feel, is to let go of the "governor" and just let it fly (kind of like Leonardo DiCaprio in WOLF OF WALL STREET).  Cruise just doesn't do it.  He doesn't let go.  He "pretends" to let go, but he never really does.  You can see him trying, yet pulling himself back and it is because of this hesitancy, that his performance, ultimately, doesn't work for me.

He is surrounded by a decent (but not strong) Supporting cast.  Seal's wife is portrayed by Sarah Wright - she is "fine", solid but unspectacular.  His CIA handler is portrayed by Domnhall Gleeson and he is "fine", solid but unspectacular.  Even the wild and crazy Central American drug lords are portrayed in a "fine", but unspectacular fashion.  They needed to let go of the governor like Alfred Molina did in BOOGIE NIGHTS, but they just don't go far enough.

With almost all of the performances going to - but never crossing over - a line, I will lay the blame on the Director, Doug Liman (so good as a Director in EDGE OF TOMORROW).  I don't know if he toned down the vision of this film to appeal to his Studio Bosses or if his sensibilities just didn't allow this film to "go there", but whatever it is, the film falls flat where it could have (should have) soared and was a missed opportunity.

This film is "entertaining enough" if you go to it, but I wouldn't tell you to rush right out and see this.

Letter Grade:  B-

6 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (ofMarquis)
This is a must watch!!
This film/story about Barry Seal is so interesting and is important piece of our history, I give them much credit in taking time to make this film.

Tom plays the part perfectly.. you really get into being at ease with his character. This film just opens up and takes you to another place and never stops till the end, so keep yourself seated and relax.. just enjoy.
Fails to Get Off the Ground
At this point is there a person on earth who doesn't already know the CIA was up to some shady s**t in Central America? Those who might still be in the dark about this stuff please do yourself a favor and read "Castles Made of Sand" by Andre Gerolymatos or "A Great Place to Have a War" by Joshua Kulantzick. If you want something a little more specific to this film's subject matter there's "Smuggler's End" by Del Hahn. You can also watch: Bananas (1971), The In-Laws (1979), El Salvador: Another Vietnam (1981), Alsino and the Condor (1982), Under Fire (1983), Latino (1985), Salvador (1986), Romero (1989), Walker (1987), Down Came a Blackbird (1995),Blow (2001), Voces Inocentes (2004), Guatemala: The Secret Files (2008), Harvest of Empire (2012), Princesas Rojas (2013), Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014),the TV show Narcos (2015-present), Room of Bones (2015), Finding Oscar (2016), The Infiltrator (2016) and if that's not enough, the hearings on the Iran-Contra Investigation on Youtube.

All of these options and more would give you a more cogent, compelling and satisfying experience than sitting through American Made; a light, mediocre and curiously smug, bug-eyed view of important historical events. In it a TWA pilot turned CIA stooge makes a little side cash smuggling drugs, guns and people to and from Central America. While doing so, the movie frames the larger collusions and convolutions not as the result of a deeply flawed man sticking his thumbs in various proverbial pies but as an awkward jumble of "and then…" filmmaking in spite of him.

Barry (Cruise) fits neatly into the recent crop of true-life protagonists too stupid to realize they're in over their head. He smiles crookedly, trying to hide his intentions under aviator glasses – mostly to the amusement of his CIA handler played by Domhnall Gleeson. He's clearly playing with a bad hand and everyone including the infamous Medellin drug cartel knows it, but damned if they're not entertained by Barry's good 'ol boy braggadocio. He's like a composite of the dudes from War Dogs (2016) only with the serendipity (and obliviousness) of Forrest Gump (1994).

What exactly makes a man like this tick? The movie doesn't really seem that interested in answering that question. Instead it seems more concerned with giving us a history lesson based on Barry's limited first-person perspective and various camera collage techniques that make American Made look like an episode of Arrested Development (2003-Present). This is of course told without wit, irony or the requisite anger needed. One can't help but think that if director Doug Liman brought the same level of ire to this movie that he did in the under-watched Fair Game (2010), American Made would have been a bit more palatable to…someone.

As it stands however, American Made is for no one. It's a frustratingly mediocre waste of marquee space that's too dense to be entertaining and too cavalier to be worth a good discussion of Cold War foreign policy. It lacks characterization and perspective, leaving only Tom Cruise's boundless charisma to push it past the runway with any alacrity. As much as I'd like to say Cruise pulls it off, American Made as a whole should have stayed grounded for a little while longer.
A First Rate, Real-Life Drug Smuggling Saga
Doug Liman, the director of "The Bourne Identity," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," and "Edge of Tomorrow," chronicles the rip-roaring, real-life exploits of good ole boy Barry Seal in "American Made," an exhilarating action-comedy, crime thriller that combines elements of the Mel Gibson epic "Air America" (1990) and the 2015 Netflix series "Narcos." If you saw the first season of "Narcos," Barry Seal went out in a brief blaze of glory. At one time the youngest commercial airliner pilot for TWA, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native got intertwined with the CIA, the DEA, Pablo Escobar and the murderous Medellín Cartel as well as the Reagan White House, and lived up to the image of 'a wild and crazy guy' before the Colombians finally snuffed him. Mind you, "American Made" isn't the first time that Hollywood has depicted Seal's audacious antics. The late, great Dennis Hopper portrayed Seal in Roger Young's made-for-television docudrama "Double-Crossed" (1991) with Danny Trejo. Later, Michael Paré had a supporting role as Barry Seal in Brad Furman's "The Infiltrator" (2016) with Bryan Cranston as an undercover DEA agent. More recently, Dylan Bruno played Seal in an episode of "Narcos." Nevertheless, the charismatic Cruise delivers a broad, light-hearted performance as the amoral drug smuggling aviator in what amounts to a modern-day version of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in the skies. Basically, as Barry Seal, Cruise dominates "American Made" while other equally historic personages lurk on the periphery, including President Ronald Reagan and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. Helming this entertaining, 115-minute, R-rated opus with a light touch, Liman doesn't subject audiences to the usual blood-splattered carnage that characterizes the typical cartel crime expose. Although "Stash House" writer Gary Spinelli has altered the facts here and there to make Barry Seal appear more sympathetic, "American Made" qualifies as one of the better cartel crime sagas which shows audiences that you cannot smuggle your cocaine and live to tell about it without the fatal consequences catching up with you.

"American Made" opens with TWA pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise of "Top Gun") flying passengers here, there, and everywhere, and growing bored and restless with being a just another pilot when he isn't smuggling Cuban cigars. In one scene, our prankster protagonist decides to wake up his serenely sleeping passengers as well as his snoozing co-pilot during a flight by switching off the auto-pilot and creating a little turbulence of his own. Eventually, weary of the predictable routine of shuttling passengers, Seal quits TWA just after his co-pilot and he complete their pre-flight checklist. Grabbing his gear, he exits the jetliner without a backward glance and goes off to work for an enigmatic guy named Monty 'Schafer' (Domhnall Gleeson of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens") who furnishes him a twin-engined aircraft and clearance to fly patriotic missions for the CIA. Initially, Seal refuses to let his sweet but superficial wife Lucy (Sarah Wright of "The House Bunny") in on his new gig until he runs into trouble smuggling cocaine for Pablo Escobar. Colombian troops bust Escobar and his associates while Seal winds up in jail and loses a tooth until 'Schafer' shows up to bail him out. The catch is that Louisiana authorities will be knocking on his front door at dawn the following day if Seal doesn't uproot his family on a moment's notice and relocate them to Mena, Arkansas. Lucy goes reluctantly along with his harebrained scheme, and the police with their blue and red dome light flashing careen pass him on the way out of town. Talk about a cliffhanger escape! Barry finds himself running guns to Contras in Nicaragua for 'Schafer' when he isn't pausing in Panama to swap contraband with General Manuel Noriega (newcomer Alberto Ospino) or flying more cocaine into Louisiana for Pablo Escobar. Basically, as long as Seal flies for the CIA, the Agency doesn't care what he does on his own time. Furthermore, to protect their investment in his services, the CIA provide him with information so he can elude the DEA. Seal winds up hiring four other misfit pilots, and they outfly the DEA back and forth from Central and South America. The last thing our free-wheeling hero could ever imagine happening happens: he makes a ton of money but he doesn't have enough bank accounts and front companies to conceal it. Indeed, he buries so much cash on property that the CIA has given him that he has nowhere else to hide aside from stuffing in suitcases in his hanger. At this point, the devil enters paradise in the person of Lucy's sleazy younger brother J.B. (Caleb Landry Jones of "X-Men: First Class"), who decides to take advantage of all those $100 bills cluttering up closets. Suddenly, not only do the authorities bust J.B., but the CIA decides to let the FBI, ATF, DEA, and the Arkansas State Police arrest him. In a last-ditch effort to save his wife and family, Seal agrees a mission for the White House and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North to incriminate Pablo Escobar. Naturally, the Oval Office doesn't keep its end of the bargain.

Despite its historical basis in 1970s and the 1980s, the last thing that director Doug Liman wants audiences to do is take Barry Seal seriously, and "American Made" amounts to a nostalgic romp through headlines of the yesteryear. The excerpts from Ronald Reagan's Hollywood films as well as his White House press conference, featuring wife Nancy and her famous "Just Say No to Drugs" quote are thoroughly hilarious. One of the funniest scenes shows Seal crash landing a plane crammed with cocaine in a suburban neighborhood. Stumbling out of the aircraft, our clownish hero emerges covered in cocaine. Dumping packets of $100 bills at the feet of a gawking teenager, Seal takes the kid's bike and pedals away before the DEA arrives. Rarely has twentieth century history been so nostalgic as "American Made," and Tom Cruise will keep you in stitches as a guy who leaped before he looked.
A hilarious and crazy pilot movie
American Made is about Barry Seal who is transporting weapons, drugs, money and even food in his airplane. He is flying for the CIA in secrecy and for drug dealers, he is obviously earning a lot of money with it and get's away with it constantly because his boss Monty Schafer who works for the CIA.

This movie is first of all hilarious the performance of Tom Cruise as Barry Seal is great, he is very charismatic and funny you can Barry Seal his personality through Cruise. All the performances are good but Cruise is just outstanding. The first act and third act are very good but some parts of the second act drag quite a bit.

Overall American Made is a very good movie with a great direction and great colors. It's very funny movie and I would certainly recommend you are gonna see it. A very surprising great movie!
Great entertaining film based on true events!
As always, this film is another Tom Cruise hit - he never disappoints! What's more interesting is the story behind this film, something I wasn't aware occurred, and enjoyed learning about it via this film. Every actors performance was perfect and very convincing. My only complaint is the massive amount of quick edits/cuts in certain scenes, and I wasn't a fan of the choppy camera handling and quick zoom-ins. Other than that, a must see film with a 9/10 score from me!
American Made is one of the WORST films of 2017
Tom Cruise was once one of Amercas biggest stars but lately outside of the Mission Impossible franchise his star has been in decline with one bomb after another.

In 2017 alone Cruise starred in the awful Mummy reboot and now the equally awful American Made.

Someone needs to find Cruise a new agent because this film was AWFUL so bad me and my wife asked for a refund.

By the way a scene with future president Bill Clinton in a stript club was deleted. It should have stayed in because he worked with Barry Seals as governor of Arkansas where Seals lived. Clinton did after all get Seals out of jail several times in the film.
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