Hooray! Finally, a Tom Cruise film that doesn’t have him playing a brilliant, brawny action hero. Instead, ‘American Made’ has Tom digging into the real life story of a TWA pilot-turned-drug runner-turned-CIA agent, as he takes you along on a wild flight.
Tom Cruise, welcome back to acting. It’s great to see you at the controls of the new Doug Liman film, American Made. It’s a trip back to 1970’s America, where central character Barry Seal (Cruise) is a hot shot TWA pilot — one of the stars of the airline’s fleet. He has a beautiful blonde wife, a baby, and a boredom problem. He’s tired of the routine of piloting his Boeing jets, while smuggling some Cuban cigars on the side. So when the CIA catches on to his cigar scheme and offers him a chance to avoid prosecution by flying a snazzy, super fast small-sized jet on secret missions down to South America, he jumps at the chance and says yes. Flights to take photos of South American insurgent installations evolve into delivering packets of info to the Panamanian military dictator, Manuel Noriega. Click here to see pics from the movie!
The film is loosely based on the real life misadventures of the Louisiana-born, Barry Seal. He’s sort of like a dark version of Forrest Gump. He keeps moving along while having real life run-ins with the most infamous movers and shakers of the times. These include the founders of the Medellin drug cartel like the terrifying Pablo Escobar. Cruise’s Barry Seal takes the offer/threat by the skinny members of the Medellin crew to fly cocaine back to America, in good natured stride. He’s far more concerned with the basics of simply getting lift off into flight from the cartel’s short runway in the jungle, than with the fact that he will be seriously breaking the law. Barry is up for anything as long as it means making money. He’s an expert at juggling his CIA missions, which now include gun running to the Sandinista revolutionaries in Nicaragua, with managing a fleet of drug runners from Columbia, into the U.S. It doesn’t take long for him to be rolling in dough, then more dough, then more dough. And to be living the high life — jetting down to Columbia with his wife for New Year’s Eve, to party with Pablo Escobar, his now close pal.
Of course, the contradictions of Seal’s character are what make Tom and the film so interesting. Tom Cruise infuses Barry with non-stop charm. He’s a loyal loving husband and father. He’s a hard worker, who never indulges in the cocaine he transports. He loves the thrill of the flying and the escapades escaping DEA agents and border patrols. But he plays the part of good community citizen in his adopted hometown in Arkansas. And just when you think Barry is at the end of the line, he ends up in Washington D.C. with some other rather famous historical figures. It’s a fascinating trip. And Tom Cruise takes you along on it so well, that you forget he’s Tom Cruise. Mission accomplished!
HollywoodLifers, are you into seeing American Made? Let us know!