Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Olsen
Release Date: January 2, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Tom Cruise reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman, in an international escapade based on the outrageous, true exploits of a hustler and pilot recruited to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history. Based on an incredible true story of the CIA’s biggest secret, American Made will remind you: It’s not a crime if you’re doing it for the good guys…
Based on the shocking true story and individual, Tom Cruise portrays Barry Seal in ‘American Made’. The film accompanies Barry, a relatively unhappy airline pilot and family man simply struggling to make sure he and his family can survive who is suddenly offered an opportunity unlike anything he could have imagined. Indirectly recruited by the CIA to take reconnaissance photos, Barry quickly excels in each task provided him, but when the pay doesn’t deliver as expected, he’s forced to explore alternate forms of income, such as secretly transporting drugs and other notable items. Before long, Barry finds himself living the good life, with riches beyond his wildest dreams, but when you’re involved in such a dangerous world without any concrete guarantee of protection, there always looms the question of just how long it can truly last, especially once Barry begins finding himself thrust into increasingly dangerous situations.
Directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Wall) from a screenplay written by Gary Spinelli (Stash House), Liman does a superb job at the helm of ‘American Made’ guiding this wildly enjoyable true story along with ease. The film also owes a great deal of credit to the talented folks that comprise the cast including Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow), Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Sarah Wright Olsen (21 & Over), Jesse Plemons (Bridge Of Spies), Caleb Landry Jones (TV’s Twin Peaks: The Return) and more, nearly all delivering fantastic performances in each of their respective roles, particularly Cruise who is at his absolute best here, truly allowing this incredibly human tale to work so brilliantly.
‘American Made’ is a fast moving, highly energetic and undeniably fun film that tells a true story filled with no shortage of terror, violence and unexpected occurrences that it manages to weave into something unexpected, keeping the tone and activity surprisingly easy going around each turn, and doing a remarkable job of avoiding nearly all bloodshed without it ever harming the overall experience. If anything only managing to improve the movie further with the clever ways it embraces doing so in order to cut and jump around while constantly keeping the content feeling fun, fresh and smoothly organized, and all the while managing to retain the seriousness of the danger and the obvious risk at hand. It’s also a drastically different type of film than ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ which director Doug Liman and star Tom Cruise previously joined forces on and the two clearly work extremely well together. The notable differences between these two films also perfectly allows both to showcase their range as well as their highly capable ability to cooperate on numerous fronts and genres, with the end result consistently proving to be something quite special. I would strongly encourage folks to check out ‘American Made’ when you have the opportunity to do so, it’s a smart, wildly enjoyable and just plain fantastic film that delivers from start to finish. Fans of filmmaker Doug Liman and star Tom Cruise in particular won’t want to even consider missing out on this spectacular ride which is expertly guided along its entertaining course by Liman and also features one of Cruise’s most outstanding performances in some time.
Overall, ‘American Made’ is a wonderful piece of filmmaking that tells a powerful true story and manages to cleverly craft it into something wildly enjoyable and able to cover a noteworthy time span without ever losing its way. Impressively managing to also turn a somewhat violent and dangerous story of one man’s outrageous life into something far more light-hearted and amusing than you might expect without ever detracting from the reality of the danger. ‘American Made’ is definitely highly recommended, it’s a slick, fast moving and beautifully crafted true tale that delivers in nearly every possible way and should have no trouble proving itself to be well worth your time and the cost of a rental at the very least, especially for fans of Liman and Cruise as well as their prior collaboration ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ who will want to make a definite effort to check out ‘American Made’ if you haven’t already had the pleasure of this magnificent and incredibly fun ride.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Made’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole, delivering a clean, sharp and detailed presentation that also retains the filmmaking choices including certain sequences that intentionally appear a bit over washed or glazed in color, though all elements that are clearly intended. It holds up admirably even during the fast moving, heavily populated and darkly lit sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a DTS: X (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and notably active audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send plane activity, bullets, music, crowd chatter and plenty more regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a magnificent DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that compliments the film splendidly, contributing plenty of additional fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Made’ includes some enjoyable extras that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary by Director Doug Liman’ (running approximately 10 minutes in length altogether), along with a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘American Storytellers’ (running approximately 7 minutes in length), ‘Cruise and Liman: A Conversation’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘In The Wings’ (6 minutes), ‘Shooting American Made‘ (4 minutes), ‘Flying High’ (5 minutes) and ‘The Real Barry Seal’ (6 minutes).