For several decades now starting in the 80s, a Tom Cruise feature movie was a guaranteed box office smash and could often be the source of conversation around the water cooler. Fast forward to whatever we call this decade, his box office muscle has slipped but he sure puts on a good show.
Forget about his politics/beliefs, his on screen demeanor as a generally charming super hero is pretty fun. So to in “American Made, this film based on the true life of former TWA pilot Barry Seal, takes a pretty serious time in our history and lightens the heaviness. Plus I’m sure some creative liberties were taken to make this a near comedy. It works.
The CIA recruits this semi reckless commercial airline pilot who is running his own personal contraband smuggling business. They first ask him to take surveillance pictures over Central America by plane. Then things escalate into drugs, guns, revolutionary soldiers and tons and tons of cash.
The world Seal has entered keeps pushing and pushing the safety envelope and he goes with the flow. He loves the $, the excitement, the dangerous world and again the $. Yet too loves his family (wife..3 kids) and realizes he has to move/hide. So they head to Mena, AK which is a totally run down mid west town (perfect to hide) but his need to launder/hide endless cash results in the creation of bank-town USA.
Ever on the fast track,he pretty much becomes the target of every major US enforcement agency (CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF and more. He becomes the king of deals and information and government in ways needs him to keep doing what he is doing behind the scenes of the Iran-Contra affair.
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You name it, Barry Seal was seemingly involved everywhere in the 80’s from the White House & Reagan to the Medelin Cartel to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and more (like George Bush and Oliver North)
Light, fast paced, a bit confusing but all works. Just jump on the Cruise roller coaster and enjoy the ride.