Film: American Made
Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Wright, E. Roger Mitchell, Jesse Plemons, Lola Kirke, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, Jayma Mays
Director: Doug Liman
Who, in their right minds, would want to enlist as a spook in return for being abandoned if ever you should get caught? I suppose you have to be slightly unhinged or consumed by love for the motherland or maybe, just maybe, it’s a combination of both. For Barry Seal, the charming rogue played by Tom Cruise (in top form as usual) the motivation also encompasses lucre, lovely lucre.
As Seal, Cruise reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman in a globe-trotting thriller written for the screen by Gary Spinelli from the true story of a pilot who worked for the CIA, the Columbian Medellin cartel, the DEA and the White House. Phew! Seal made hay while the sun shone, brightly indeed, until he was found out and machine-gunned by the cartel. Not clubbed to death as the movie suggests. We see he is solicitous about “collateral damage”. But not about the murky shenanigans that ended in the Iran Contra scandal. Ollie North shows up in the movie too. Remember Ollie North?
Memorable then are the scenes featuring Domhnall Gleeson’s sinister Schafer who recruits Seal for the CIA’s dirty fight against the Commie threat.
Liman-Spinelli, however, sanitises Seal’s flawed character. He is concerned for his own family (but not those whose lives he is helping ruin.) Corruption – personal/political – is played for laughs. I was flummoxed by the Catholic statues lining the “airfield” of the Colombian cartel whose Catholicism is as questionable as that of the Italian Mafia.Laugh, the viewer, certainly will, when Seal tells his wife to put on as much jewellery as possible – even a fur coat- since US law forbids confiscation of bodily adornments. But our lives do not consist in the abundance of possessions. Liman doesn’t adopt the moral high horse even as he keep the narrative moving briskly.