American Made (2017)

11:43 AM

The CIA. The White House. Pablo Escobar. One Man Played Them All.
"American Made" is directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) and written by Gary Spinelli (Stash House). The film stars Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible, Top Gun), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, About Time) and Sarah Wright (Parks and Recreation, Walk of Shame). "A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s". Edge of Tomorrow was a criminally under-watched action flick that critics adored. Even if audiences don't connect with American Made, will those who do turn up be impressed? 

"American Made" was one of the final major releases of summer 2017. It influenced the season going out with a fizzle...and I can see why. There's a reason Universal dropped "American Made" into a waste-land release date with no competition as I doubt it wound have found an audience otherwise. Tom Cruise usually does action heavy films that are thrilling and exciting. To my surprise, this was not like that. "American Made" is a film that has much more dialogue than action based scenes. Don't get me wrong though, "American Made" is a pretty solid film but I think it's going to suffer from being forgettable and not that special. For instance, the friend I went with (who wanted to see it more than me) fell asleep and left the screen when they awoke until the last 20 minutes of the film. Thrilling, exciting and exhilarating...are all the wrong words.

I didn't dislike the film, I actually feel more positively than negatively towards it. The story was quite interesting and I thought it was moving at a nice pace. Until I did a time check and found out it had been on for less than an hour and had more than an hour to go. It's one of those films where lots happens in a short space of time so you are tricked into thinking time is moving quicker than it is. I definitely preferred the first half of the film to the second. It was more enjoyable watching Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) on the rise than on the fall. The film was also insightful as I knew nothing about this guy prior to watching and although he was partaking in illegal activities, he came across as quite a clever and smart guy. The story also didn't become too confusing. With all the double crossing Seal is doing, it would be easy for the story to become messy and convoluted but I felt like it didn't and was relatively easy to follow. However, there ultimately wasn't that much going on. There was no action and the exciting scenes lasted a couple of minutes at most. "American Made" is much more of a drama than it is an action film. This isn't going to give you the final thrill of the summer movie season. 

One issue I had particularly with the film is that it lacked an identity. I think it was trying too hard to be stylish and was using too many techniques that just didn't gel well together. It's hard to explain but the film certainly knew it had to do something to make it more fun and entertaining as the actual content was relatively dull. I wouldn't be surprised if Universal were hoping to give this an awards push as it's the type of story that is more suited to awards season than summer. Don't get me wrong, Doug Liman is a talented director (he directed one of my all-time favourites "Edge of Tomorrow"), but I don't think his passion was in on "American Made". "Edge of Tomorrow" was amazing, this was border-lining on being just 'meh'. 

The acting was definitely one of the stronger elements of the film. This role is very similar to what Tom Cruise usually stars in but also very different. The character of Barry Seal resembles past performances but this time, Cruise's Seal doesn't get to partake in exhilarating action sequences or risky stunts, he just has a camera shoved close to his face while is is 'flying' a plane. This material could have got Oscar buzz but Cruise is too Hollywood and his performance doesn't go far enough to warrant any awards. A different actor probably could have done something more interesting and memorable with the role but Cruise is just fine. Sarah Wright is limited to the typical 'wife' role and doesn't have too much to do. However, Wright's resemblance to Margot Robbie is uncanny. Their similarities really got me thinking and it clicked, "American Made" wants to be "The Wolf of Wall Street". All of the characters are very similar and the plots are along similar lines. Maybe if Leonardo DiCaprio played Barry Seal and Robbie played his wife, "American Made" may have raised a few more eyebrows. As for the supporting cast, there is no stand out performance- good or bad. 

"American Made" is far from being out-right bad but there's really nothing about it that stimulates a positive feeling. For the first half, I did find the film interesting but got more tired of the plot as it continued in the second half. Tom Cruise reprises most of his roles minus the fun action sequences-which is why we pay to see Tom Cruise in films! I'm actually shocked that this film comes from the same director as "Edge of Tomorrow" as this pales in comparison. The more I think about the film, the more I dislike it so hopefully I'll forget about it soon...which shouldn't take too long. "American Made" tries to hard to be stylish that it ends up lacking an identity. One things for sure is that it's a "Wolf of Wall Street" wannabe. "American Made" is dull, boring, uninspired and very average. I'm sure it'll appeal to some though. 


What did you think of AMERICAN MADE? Will Tom Cruise make a comeback in 2018 after a week 2017? - COMMENT BELOW

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