AMERICAN MADE movie review by The Commander


American Made


by The Commander

(out of 4 stars)


Tom Cruise tries his hand at playing another person outside of his perceived character persona once again with not much success. American made is based on a true story.  Cruise plays the part of Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to run operations in Central America.


In the 1980’s, the climate of cocaine imported from Central America was abundant. Purveyors such as Pablo Escobar, Colombian and Medellin cartel, military dictators such as Manuel Noriega of Panama were all involved. Cash, drugs, weapons were all part of a training currency that existed for this industry. The CIA seeking an opportunity to gain access utilizing the abilities of Seal and others to smuggle weapons to “freedom fighters” in order to battle the communist. What became a simple strategy turned into a very convoluted mixture of multi-stop over flights exchanging the “Currency” between the different factions. Sounds confusing, no?  Yes, the answer is yes.


Director, Doug Liman, does a wonderful job of having Cruise narrate what is going to happen, in order to simplify the story as it unfolds.  It seems that as time moves forward, more “organizations” utilized Seal to carry out their deliveries.


While this film is not a documentary it does put a humorous touch on the life of Barry Seal while not being too accurate. There was tremendous pressure on Seal in juggling his gun running, drug smuggling, cash-carrying trips without getting caught, killed or crashing, every time he made his runs.  Instead of focusing on the seriousness of this struggle, the Director made light of it.  However, the Director did take liberties with many facts. The film makes you believe that Seal was killed in Arkansas in a parking lot while he was serving time for community service. He was actually killed in a parking lot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Additionally, Seal was an informant for the government and testified in court against Manuel Noriega and others but that was never brought up the film.


I would recommend seeing this movie. While it is not required to see it on the big screen it is enjoyable and tries to present a very convoluted scheme by our government, to influence political agendas in South America, using whatever means they had their disposal without oversight. It’s a pretty good history lesson in two hours so grab the popcorn, it will make it that much more enjoyable.  Can’t wait to see the documentary version.