By Nicolas Lucente | Staff Writer
Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise! TOM CRUISE! That man has done it again. American Made, released on Sept. 28, is turning critics’ and audiences’ heads, and for good reason. The film is a biopic about a pilot named Barry Seal, played by Cruise, who has quit his average job of piloting for Trans World Airlines to join the CIA. However, he feels that the CIA does not pay him enough for his services, so he decides to go make some new friends in Columbia. There, he makes boatloads (or should I say planeloads) of cash illegally trafficking cocaine into the United States.
Cruise plays his role with a lot of energy, and the audience can feel it taking the movie up a notch. There’s just something about Cruise being in a cockpit that is just really special. The way he carries himself, or rather the way he portrays Seal, feels genuine and real.
Speaking of real, we know that the movie itself is not completely accurate when it comes to Barry Seal. He was not a considerate guy and never came close to mimicking his movie counterpart. If historical accuracy is the reason you go to the movies, then you will have a problem with this film. But that’s why they say “based on a true story” and not “every detail is historically accurate,” right?
That being said, the movie is easy-to-watch fun. Plus, the additions made to Seal’s character throw a nice wrinkle into the film. Instead of just focusing on his own financial success, he demonstrates concern over his family as well. Without this slight twist to the story, the movie would not be as riveting and would not have the same amount of emotion. Overall, the film is solid, probably one of Cruise’s best performances in years, and that alone elevates the movie to another level.
The supporting actors are phenomenal as well. Domhnall Gleeson plays CIA agent Monty Schafer, Seal’s advisor. He may have even fulfilled his role better than Cruise. He’s friendly at times to reel Seal in and make him feel wanted and appreciated before pivoting quickly to bring the hammer down on him when his cooperation is slacking. Gleeson’s role seemed difficult, but he knocked it straight out of the park.
As for supporting actresses, Sarah Wright plays Seal’s wife, Lucy Seal, tremendously. Tasked with raising their children and bottling up Barry’s secrets, Lucy entertains audiences as her character develops over the course of the movie. She goes from content with her life, to angry with her husband, to supportive of him, to eventually reaching the point where she is proud of Barry, backing him no matter what. Watching this arc is interesting and makes Wright’s performance that much more compelling to watch.
If you are on the fence about going to see this one, hop off that fence fast and go see American Made immediately. It is not just another historical movie. We have heard them all before. This is about Barry Seal and his thrilling adrenaline-packed life as a CIA pilot. If nothing else, go see it for Tom Cruise; his performance in American Made should not go unnoticed, and it would be a travesty if it goes underappreciated.