ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

American Made: Movie Review

Updated on September 30, 2017
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

American Made
American Made | Source

In the mid- to late-80s, just as Doug Liman was finishing up his undergraduate years at Brown University, his father was busy serving as chief counsel for the senate during the Iran-Contra Congressional hearings—yep, the ones that made Oliver North and Fawn Hall household names.

Thirty years later the younger Liman has become a respected director, beginning with his 1996 debut Swingers. His latest studio feature was 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise, a seemingly throw-away sci-fi flick that came out of nowhere to be among the best of the year. And now he brings us American Made, starring Cruise as Barry Seal, the guy on the ground who essentially made the entire Iran-Contra fiasco possible. Seal spent his entire life on the edge, serving simultaneously as a drug informant for the DEA and a smuggler/weapons runner for the biggest drug cartel in the world.

Cruise brings Seal to life with the same manic bravado that used to permeate his characters—from Top Gun’s Maverick to Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible series—helping us forget the trainwrecks that were his last two movies, 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and this past May’s god-awful The Mummy.

And though American Made plays fast and loose with the facts throughout, it still provides enough to give you the gist of Seal’s crazy life, and Liman and Cruise combine to turn it all into one helluva ride.

The film kicks off in 1978, while Barry was a hotshot TWA pilot (in real life he was fired by the airline in 1974). After getting caught for smuggling Cuban cigars (really it was marijuana and cocaine) into the US from Canada, the CIA (actually it was the DEA—but fine, I’ll stop) recruits him to fly over Central America taking surveillance photos of Communist insurgents in the region. Later his mission expands into serving as a courier between the US government and Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega and then into running guns from the US down to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua and running the rebels up to the US for training. At the same time, Seal gets recruited by the Medellin cartel to run cocaine from Colombia to the US.

And, oh yes, did we mention he also has a wife and kids back home in Arkansas?

American Made is an almost too-crazy-to-be-true story of a man who went from nothing to a lifestyle that would have made both Evel Knievel and El Chapo cry uncle—all in a few short years and mostly with the backing of the US government. The screenplay by first-timer Gary Spinelli has occasional trouble keeping all the balls in the air, but it works for the most part, giving us a pretty solid (and entertaining) look at this wild and crazy man.

Liman keeps the pace moving fast and furious throughout, and cinematographer César Charlone gives American Made a nifty vintage feel, and all of it is propelled with a groovy late-70s soundtrack that includes the likes of Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou” alongside the disco-tastic “A Fifth of Beethoven”.

Watching it, you can’t help but feel (or hope, more to the point) that American Made is indeed too crazy to be true, but it’s not. And it’s crazy-fun, too, going a long way toward putting the largely forgettable 2017 summer movie season far behind us.

Rating

4/5 stars

'American Made' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)