Through the ever changing world of Hollywood and movie making Tom Cruise has been somewhat of a constant. Love or hate the guy he’s been churning out big blockbuster action hits for years. His latest two films (‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ & ‘The Mummy’) saw him enter into sequel and reboot territory but unfortunately didn’t quite hit the mark. However, reuniting with ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ director, Doug Liman, surely suggested that ‘American Made’ would showcase the Cruiser back at his best?
The film follows airline pilot Barry Seal (Cruise) who is recruited by the CIA to gather intelligence from air during the Cold War. This is only the start of the utterly bonkers narrative though which constantly proves to viewers why it warrants a film being made about it. The tagline for the film is; ‘Based on a true lie’ and there’s no doubt that audiences will have trouble believing that the events here actually took place. Accompanying this wonderful disbelief is some quality humour. The insane nature of the story makes for an easy opportunity to include comedy and writer Gary Spinelli takes good advantage of this including several very funny moments. When the story and the writing work at their best the film is an absolute blast to watch however it’s shame that this isn’t always the case. The running time for ‘American Made’ is just too long to sustain an entertaining narrative at all times. It does become slightly monotonous on occasions and struggles to effectively tell it’s story in it’s entirety.
Thankfully the film has Tom Cruise piloting it from the get go and it’s one of his best performances in recent years. He’s really great casting here and this role allowed him to exercise more than just his carbon copy action persona. He injects humour, drama and energy into the picture in equal measure reminding audiences of why he’s just so good. Domhnall Gleeson is the other big casting here, he plays CIA agent Schafer. At first I wasn’t so sure of this role for Gleeson, it didn’t seem natural for the actor. Nonetheless, as the film progressed Gleeson settles into his role nicely and ended up performing well, as we’re well used to. The rest of the characters are relatively small in comparison, Sarah Wright plays Cruise’s on screen wife in notable fashion making herself one to watch for future roles. The vast amount of flight time in the film makes the planes almost feel like characters of their own. These sequences were always enjoyable and filmed very well, no doubt easing Cruise back into the role of Maverick for upcoming ‘Top Gun’ sequel.
When the credits roll it’s easy to forgive the slight pacing issues the narrative experiences. You’ll forget the times your attention flagged instead remembering when all the elements worked together creating a thoroughly entertaining cinematic experience. This role seems to see Cruise having the most fun in a movie for some time and it’s refreshing to see him playing a character like this once more. Not quite a Cruiser classic in terms of the overall film but his performance is a massive step back in the right direction.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What are your top three Tom Cruise films?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.