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"American Made" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

American Made is a good film, but not a great one. It had all the potential but was missing the one element that made other films such as Blow and Scarface so spectacular: danger.

American Made tells the story of Barry Seal, an expert pilot who is recruited by the CIA to smuggle drugs and take reconnaissance photos of the cartels during the 1980s.

The film is based on a true story and, for the most part, the film gets it right. There are a few things that were left out or changed but it still worked out in the end. There was, however, something that was keeping the film from really soaring. There were a couple elements that were missing and that was a sense of danger and shock. Compared to similar films such as Blow, Kill the Messenger, or Scarface, American Made didn't reach that spectacular height. Don't get me wrong, the film was great. It had spectacular acting all around and the story was engaging, but it seemed Barry got one break after another and never really faced consequences for his actions until the very end.

The acting is what stood out the most. Tom Cruise has had a bit of trouble in film lately with The Mummy being a critical failure and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back being only average at the box office but I think American Made is going to bring him back up to his feet. He performed spectacularly and embodied Barry Seal as if he actually was him. Domhnall Gleeson was a completely different and unrecognizable person in this film compared to his role as General Hux in Star Wars VII. He has such a great range as an actor. He's like the new age Gary Oldman, being able to disappear and become the role he takes on. Sarah Wright, who most people may know from her small roles in 7th Heaven and Parks and Recreation, finally got the role that might just make her a household name. She played Barry's wife, who was a Southern gal that was just along for the ride.

Doug Liman directed the film wonderfully, which was a great change for him. He's been in the action genre for so long that a dramedy bio film is just the change of pace he needed to prove that he is an all-around awesome director.

In conclusion, I was both impressed and let down but in the end I have to say it was a very good film. The performances, directing, and story lifted the film up but the lack of consequence brought the film down a notch. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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