American politics is a theater that continues to garner more attention than even the biggest award shows. The players in their games can be just as interesting, especially in how far they go to accomplish their tasks. My second review of the weekend focuses on one such person named Barry Seal, a famous American pilot who was a cog in so many aspects. What does this movie have in store for us? Robbie K here to fill in on the latest biography and give you insight into another silver screen story. Let’s go
The Setting: Technology’s progression allows us to do many things, and one is recreating the past. American Made is a shining example of Hollywood’s ability to recreate the trends of the decades, from what towns/cities looked like to the fashion and cars that filled them. You’ll be pulled back in time with this film, and become integrated in the world and fully diving into the world crafted by Seal’s actions. In addition, it’s also fun to see old news’ broadcasts integrated into the mix, further amping up the story. And for all you nostalgia lovers out there, feel free to have fun remembering the adventures you back then.
Cruise’s Acting: Say what you want about Tom Cruise’s personal life, but the man can certainly play his roles well. Cruise comes in spades with this film, capturing arrogance, coyness, and that adventurous spirit all in one sitting. His skills will bring out the emotions of the time period, the fear of being that pivotal chess piece that so many depend on. Cruise’s chemistry with all his co-actors is favorable, resulting in a performance that feels natural. In addition, his dynamic abilities to transition between sub roles, further brings the character to life, an essential for a key role.
Thorough Tale: Biographies are only as fascinating as the story presented, which often requires details. Our directors/screenwriters have got you covered in this movie, sparing no time cost to hit all the deals that Seal was involved in. Their presentation keeps guides you well in this movie, using captioned slide transitions and Cruise’s comedic dialogue to set the time and place of the next adventure. It’s an easy tale to keep up with and hits so many qualities of Seal’s life in tandem to his antics (including family, friends, and even sanity). I felt that of all the books brought to life, this was one that hit the closest to home.
Magic vs Reality: The challenge with these films is determining what is real and what is overdramatized. There are plenty of moments where that question comes up, as the cast of characters appears with grandiose gestures and presentations to corrupt the system. As the story progresses, the whole conspiracy gets even larger and the drama amps up to levels that are hard to believe. The over dramatization gets a little cheesy at times, and made me roll my eyes at the extremes the legal system went to and how untrustworthy they were. Fans of this style though, will easily be hooked into the escapades of the movie.
Skimped on other factors: While American Made touches on many aspects of the film, there was an imbalance in how much they would focus on those other aspects. The family aspect was so heavily influenced at the beginning, but then gets diluted down to background noise and occasional shots. Same thing goes for a few business partners he contracts as well, a rather focused opening, but then runs out of gas. While I give them props for keeping things concise, the disjunction between these aspects is a little disappointing to me, especially how one would affect the other. In addition, these rushed elements took the suspense away from me.
The wasted sequences: The most annoying thing for me though, were the tangential flashes that occur in this movie. Seal’s memories are fascinating to see, but there are a few of them that were pointless to have sequences for. An example is him randomly saying he had kids, only to flash to a scene of her in labor for a brief comedic relief. While a noble attempt, it was nothing a well-placed line could have done as well. There are other examples as well that all could have been left out, thereby further reducing the run length.
American Made is a great biography that has some flare other biographies have lacked for me. Cruise leads the way in terms of strengths for this movie, but the world and tale itself are an entertaining venue to watch. Yet, there are plenty of overdramatic moments and wasted shots that have made this a glorified Netflix/History Channel worthy production. If you are looking for a good biography though, scope this one out, otherwise wait for next week’s releases before going to the theater.
Movie Overall: 7.0