We have lift-off: Cruise is back with a bang in American Made | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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We have lift-off: Cruise is back with a bang in American Made

Based on the true tale of an aviator turned drug mule from the 1970s, this is a breezy movie full of wry humour, aided by a stellar ensemble cast.

movie reviews Updated: Sep 28, 2017 13:30 IST
Rashid Irani
Tom Cruise plays the daredevil adventurer Barry Seal, a pilot who was recruited by the CIA to fly recon over Central America, but quickly became involved with Pablo Escobar’s Colombian drug cartel.
Tom Cruise plays the daredevil adventurer Barry Seal, a pilot who was recruited by the CIA to fly recon over Central America, but quickly became involved with Pablo Escobar’s Colombian drug cartel.
AMERICAN MADE
  • Direction: Doug Liman
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson
  • Rating: 3 / 5

Forget about that deplorable remake of The Mummy. Tom Cruise’s career is back on track.

The superstar is at his charismatic best in this breezy biopic on daredevil American adventurer Barry Seal, a TWA pilot-turned-gunrunner and money launderer.

This is Cruise’s second collaboration with director Doug Liman, after Edge of Tomorrow (2014).

Expect a lightning-paced flightpath. The ‘anything-for-money’ narrative arc could easily be mistaken for outlandish invention if you hadn’t been told it was based on a true story.

Initially recruited to fly reconnaissance missions over Central America to chart the emerging threat of communism, the rogue pilot quickly becomes embroiled with the Colombian cocaine cartel led by the infamous Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia).

The story is told from the vantage point of home videos recorded by the anti-hero, so the viewer is privy to both his volatile family life and the Machiavellian politics of the era.

Part of the terrific supporting cast is Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Seal’s smarmy CIA handler.

Sardonic humour abounds, especially scenes in showing the opportunist attempting to stash his ill-gotten wealth in the unlikeliest of places, including horse stables and backyards.

Spectacular low-altitude aerial footage is also incorporated, with Cruise — a trained pilot himself — reportedly performing his own stunts.

The editing is razor sharp, but the cinema verite-style camerawork does get tiresome after a while.

Cruise, though, sports cool shades and a permanent grin, and has clearly had a blast playing the hustler from the ’70s. The terrific supporting ensemble includes Sarah Wright as his ever-trusting wife; Caleb Landry Jones as the cash-strapped brother-in-law; and Domhnall Gleeson as the smarmy CIA handler.

Quite an airy romp, American Made is worth checking out.