Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Doug Liman|
|Written by||Gary Spinelli|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$59.5 million|
American Made is a 2017 American biographical crime film directed by Doug Liman, written by Gary Spinelli and starring Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Alejandro Edda, Mauricio Mejía, Caleb Landry Jonesand Jesse Plemons. The plot focuses on Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who became a drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel in the 1980s. In order to avoid jail time, Seal approached United States government officials and served as an informant for the DEA.
The film was first released in Europe on August 23, 2017, and then in the United States on September 29, 2017. It is the first film directed by Liman to be released by Universal Pictures since The Bourne Identity in 2002, and was played in 2D and IMAX in select theaters. It has grossed $59 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Cruise’s performance.
In the late 1970s, Barry Seal, a pilot for commercial airline TWA, is contacted by CIA agent, Monty Schafer. He asks Seal to fly clandestine reconnaissance missions for the CIA over South America using a small plane with cameras installed.
Later in the 1970s, Schafer asks Seal to start acting as a courier between the CIA and General Noriega in Panama. During a mission, the Medellín Cartel picks Seal up and asks him to fly cocaine on his return flights to the USA. Seal accepts and starts flying the cartel’s cocaine to Louisiana. The CIA turns a blind eye to the drug smuggling, but the DEA tracks Seal down. To avoid the authorities, Schafer moves Seal and his family to a remote town in Arkansas called Mena.
Later, Schafer asks Seal to run guns to the Contras. Seal soon realizes that the Contras are not serious about the war and starts trading the guns to the cartel. The CIA set up a Contra training base in Mena and Seal flies the Contras in, but most of them escape as soon as they arrive.
Lucy’s brother JB moves in, needing a job from Barry. Eventually he starts stealing money from the Seals and is caught by Sherriff Downing with a briefcase full of laundered cash and is arrested. When Barry exiles him for good, it is implied Jorge Ochoa had JB’s car rigged with explosives, killing him so that he wouldn’t snitch.
Eventually, the CIA shuts the program down and abandons Seal to be arrested by the FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies. Seal escapes prosecution by making a deal with the White House, which wants evidence the Sandinistas are drug traffickers. They ask Seal to get photos that tie the Medelin Cartel to the Sandinistas. Seal manages to get the pictures but the White House releases them as propaganda against the Sandinistas, leading to Seal’s arrest and the Cartel placing a bounty on his head.
American made, is a wild, non-stop, action packed portrayal of the true tale about the trade of money, guns, and drugs. I enjoyed it, and do recommend seeing it. But it lacked something. There was no sense of urgency, no shocking surprises, and the ending was just as I expected. The acting was perfect, and all the characters were well portrayed. It was good violent fun, but not as ‘great’ as advertised. 4 stars” – MR