by W. B. Kriescher
“What a film!” The most recent masterpiece in Tom Cruise’s arsenal of outstanding films, American Made, is about the struggle between greed and morality. What makes this even more impactful is that it is based on a true story.
Barry Seal quits his job as a commercial aeroplane pilot and becomes a delivery man for the CIA; to make a better life for himself and his family. Barry acts outside the boundaries of the law, slowly drowning in his own decisions. The line between good and bad is blurred; there are no good guys and, equally, there are no villains. The film questions what it is to be a good person; we like and dislike every single character at various stages of the film. Barry is a criminal and we love him for it and each character has their own complex situations which motivate them.
This is a film that is able to entertain an audience with funny and comedic scenes whilst grabbing their attention with dramatic moments that delve the audience deeper into the story. Viewers are left wanting Barry to succeed, retire, and grow old with his family, leaving the criminal world behind. Yet, paradoxically, it is what makes his character so interesting and so likeable. We are shown how painfully average his life is as a commercial airline pilot in the early scenes of the film. This is then juxtaposed with the interesting character that he develops into, through his life of crime. It is the classic case of being attracted to the destructive, something every human being can relate to on some level, and why viewers can easily empathise with his situation.
American Made is a fantastic film. It is funny, whilst discussing serious topics. It is uplifting, whilst depicting harsh realities. And, above all, it is brutally honest.