James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
AMERICAN MADE (15)
D: Doug Liman
Universal/Cross Creek/Imagine (Brian Grazer, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, Doug Davison & Kim Roth)
USA 🇺🇸 2017
W: Gary Spinelli
DP: Cesar Charlone
Ed: Saar Klein, Andrew Mondshein & Dylan Tichenor
Mus: Christophe Beck
Tom Cruise (Barry Seal), Sarah Wright (Lucy Seal), Domhnall Gleeson (Monty Schafer), Alejandro Edda (Jorge Ochoa), Benito Martinez (James Rangel), Mauricio Mejia (Pablo Escabar)
When a film claims that it's based on true events, it's always fair to say that creative liberties have been taken, and this certainly isn't any different for this biopic of Barry Seal, an American airline pilot who earned a fair crust becoming a drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel, of whom Pablo Escabar was a prominent member.
Early in the film Barry Seal is busted by a CIA agent for smuggling illegal cigars into the country and is subsequently propositioned into taking spy photographs for the US government. Whilst performing these duties, he is approached by cartel members who offer him vast amounts of wealth to deliver their narcotics into the United States. The rest of the film then becomes The Wolf Of Wall Street, with drug-running substituting stockbroking, especially with its presentation inclining more towards the comedy genre than drama.
The film is entertaining enough for its duration, and the 1970's are very well recreated by director Doug Liman (helming his first feature since 2002's The Bourne Identity). One minor gripe is with the casting of Tom Cruise in a lead role that Matthew McConaughey would have been much better suited for.