Following the poorly titled but under appreciated Edge Of Tomorrow, director Doug Liman has re-teamed with star Tom Cruise for the rather un-Tom Cruise like film, American Made.
So, is it any good?When we first saw trailers for this film, the first thought on everyone’s minds was “Gee, this movie looks quite good, why is Cruise in it?”
It’s a worthy question, given many of the actor’s recent roles have been mainly action driven, with very few detours outside of his usual tough guy persona (Tropic Thunder being an obvious exception). Yet here he is, in a part you might expect someone like Matthew McConaughey to be playing…and it just so happens to be his best role since the aforementioned Les Grossman.
“Picture a demented sequel to Top Gun in which Maverick decides to Break Bad, and you’re not far off the mark.”
Cruise plays commercial pilot Barry Seal, who grows tired of his day job and takes up a shady offer from the CIA, flying in and out of Central America to help gather surveillance photos of the emerging communist threat of the early 80s. Although enjoying the change of pace, Seal feels undervalued in his new role, until a local cartel catches wind of his exploits and offers him a handsome reward for being their personal drug runner.American Made is a blast from start to finish; a cracking yarn that’s told at such breakneck speed and with such energy and humour, that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the ridiculousness of it all. Tone wise it’s not too dissimilar from The Wolf of Wall Street, in that it features a handful of quickly cut montages narrated by Seal, and the comedy is often of the jet black variety. It helps that all this craziness is based on a true story, albeit one that the filmmakers have taken a few liberties with.
Luckily the cast are all in on the joke too, with Domhnall Gleeson and Alice Eve clearly having the time of their lives playing a mixture of morally dubious idiots. But this is Cruise’s film, and only an actor of his considerable status can make a character whose morals are so questionable seem so utterly charming. Picture a demented sequel to Top Gun in which Maverick decides to Break Bad, and you’re not far off the mark. American Made is a cashed up, coke fuelled rollercoaster ride that tells an embarrassing chapter in American history that’s almost too unbelievable to be true. What it lacks in depth, it more than makes up for with unrelenting energy and laugh out loud comedy.
American Made is in Australian cinemas now, with the U.S. release to follow on September 29th