Movie Review: American Made

Sporting feathered hair and flashing his irresistible smile, Tom Cruise takes on the role of airline pilot Barry Seal in this action-comedy that celebrates the greed and corruption of the late 1970s through 1980s.

While Seal is a highly skilled airman, he is also reckless. To relieve his in-flight boredom, he flips a few switches that cause turbulence and endanger the lives of crew and passengers. On land, he sneaks Cuban cigars in his luggage.

His antics capture the attention of CIA agent Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson), who offers Seal a lucrative monetary deal. As a contractor for the CIA, Seal will spy on and deliver guns to Latin American revolutionaries.

Assured that everything is legal, Seal embarks on his first mission and attracts the attention of drug cartel members, who persuade him to take on an additional courier role. Vaguely aware of the risks—“I do tend to leap before I look”—Seal becomes known as “the crazy gringo who always delivers.”

Seal makes an obscene amount of money that ends up in the most unlikely hiding places: closets, cupboards, car trunks, and underground crypts. All the while, his wary but devoted wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) busies herself with making babies, counting and spending money, and not asking too many questions.

Authentic news footage of several U.S. presidents, among them Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, remind us this film is based on a true story. Barry Seal existed, and he played all sides, running guns and drugs between the United States and Latin America.

An entertaining film with many thrilling moments and, of course, Tom Cruise.


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