American Made is a snappy telling of the supposedly ‘true lie’ that was the story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug smuggler while working for the CIA in the 80s. The film gets a lot of mileage out of its star, Tom Cruise, whose charismatic screen presence carries much of the film – a lesser actor in the leading role lacking Cruise’s self-efficacy and pearly whites would not have worked.
Cruise re-teams with director Doug Liman, who he previously worked with on the excellent sci-fi flick Edge of Tomorrow. Liman is a capable director and has created a movie in American Made that never lags, but doesn’t truly excel either – it moves along at a good clip, with regular injections of humour and a strong performance by Cruise anchoring the is it or isn’t it true story of Barry Seal.
I wasn’t familiar with Seal’s story before watching the movie and it’s certainly an entertaining one, but as with many biographical movies I don’t see myself rushing back to re-watch American Made for some time – it’s a one and done for me, almost documentary-like in its execution. If you’re not into ‘true stories’ and aren’t a fan of Tom Cruise, then American Made isn’t the movie for you. For everyone else, it’s a brief snapshot of Seal’s bizarre story and an enjoyable two hours of your time but is unlikely to stick with you after the credits have rolled.