In AMERICAN MADE, Tom Cruise turns in his most beguiling performance in years, and much like Leonardo DiCaprio did in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, he does it by playing a complete and utter bastard. In an exaggerated take on pilot-turned-smuggler Barry Seal’s exploits in Central and South America in the 1970s and 80s, Cruise, director Doug Liman and writer Gary Spinelli produce a zippy, stylish and extremely entertaining comedy-thriller. Seal gets by a lot on luck, avoids death and arrest numerous times and somehow (and unwisely) manages to juggle working for the CIA and the Medellín Cartel. Events have been moved around and compressed, characters combined and dramatic license wholeheartedly embraced, but that’s the norm for biopics. Cruise doesn’t get to run and jump as much as he usually does, but he gets to fly and play off some well-cast supporting players like Domhnall Gleeson (CIA handler “Schaffer”), Alejandro Edda (Medellín’s Jorge Ochoa). Sometimes true stories only need a little Hollywood-ising. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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