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American Made ♛ 1/2

(Reviewed by The Movie Knight) In 1978, Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) has a nice, secure job working as a pilot for TWA. While he does get to fly all over the world, he clearly wants something more. Be careful what you wish for because it is the height of the Cold War and the CIArecruits Seal to work for them and take covert pictures over such countries as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, just to name a few. Now his new problem is that he doesn’t feel the CIA is paying him what he’s worth. New solution, he starts to aid the Medellin Cartel by smuggling drugs into the US. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a good departure for Tom Cruise who has been focusing mostly on huge popcorn action, sci-fi or fantasy flicks (The departure doesn’t last long. He’ll be back next summer for the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise.). American Made is based on a true story; so Cruise is portraying a real person rather than some larger than life character. He hasn’t done that since he portrayed Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July, which was almost 30 years ago. Big Hollywoodmovies may be his bread and butter, but he should consider more grounded roles in the future, just to remind audiences that he can act.
What plagues American Made is that, while the story progresses, it feels like it is standing still.  The timeline of the movie begins in the late 1970s and ends in the mid-1980s as we follow the story of Barry and his family’s life: but, the only real force moving this story forward are the seconds on the clock. Whenever Barry finds himself in some danger, no tension comes along with it. Even at the end there isn’t an “Oh, no” moment we feel for any character.
1.5 Tiaras

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