American Made

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
American Made
American Made


By John Mulderig | Catholic News Service

NEW YORK -- "American Made" (Universal), the wild, fact-based story of airline pilot-turned-gun-runner Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), is far too turbulent for youngsters and even too bumpy for most of their elders.

 That's a shame because, given a different treatment, this unlikely tale of a man playing several sides against the middle might have made an entertaining slice of recent history for a much wider audience.

Bored with his career ferrying passengers around the country for TWA, Barry reacts enthusiastically when approached by CIA operative Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) with the offer of a covert mission. It's the early 1980s and the opening stages of the Reagan administration, and Schafer wants Barry to transport arms to the U.S.-backed contra forces fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

This turns out to be exciting, dangerous but straightforward work. Yet Barry is soon diverted from it by the chance to smuggle cocaine for the leaders of the nascent Medellin drug cartel, Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda) and Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia).

Discovering, more or less simultaneously, that the contras would rather get rich than fight, Barry develops an elaborate scheme to supply the weapons to the gangsters and the narcotics to the guerrillas -- all the while pretending to carry on with his original assignment from Schafer.

The immense wealth Barry amasses as a result delights his loyal wife, Lucy (Sarah Wright Olsen). But it also arouses the suspicions of Craig McCall (E. Roger Mitchell), the local FBI agent in the area of Arkansas to which Schafer has relocated the Louisiana-bred Seals, as well as those of their new home town's Sheriff Downing (Jesse Plemons).

Director Doug Liman and writer Gary Spinelli revel in the improbability of their tale and the law-flouting skills of their protagonist. But, after further complications set in, they try to have it both ways where the white powder is concerned, condemning government hypocrisy while letting Barry himself off the hook.

Add to this ambivalence their explicit portrayal of the passionate nature of the central pair's bond and the constant vulgarity that marks the script, and the result is a free-for-all that makes apt fun for few.

The film contains strong sexual content, including graphic scenes of marital lovemaking, a glimpse of full nudity and implied aberrant behavior, some stylized combat and other violence, a drug theme, several uses of profanity as well as pervasive rough and much crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

[[In-content Ad]]

Related Stories

By John Mulderig | Catholic News Service

NEW YORK -- "American Made" (Universal), the wild, fact-based story of airline pilot-turned-gun-runner Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), is far too turbulent for youngsters and even too bumpy for most of their elders.

 That's a shame because, given a different treatment, this unlikely tale of a man playing several sides against the middle might have made an entertaining slice of recent history for a much wider audience.

Bored with his career ferrying passengers around the country for TWA, Barry reacts enthusiastically when approached by CIA operative Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) with the offer of a covert mission. It's the early 1980s and the opening stages of the Reagan administration, and Schafer wants Barry to transport arms to the U.S.-backed contra forces fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

This turns out to be exciting, dangerous but straightforward work. Yet Barry is soon diverted from it by the chance to smuggle cocaine for the leaders of the nascent Medellin drug cartel, Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda) and Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia).

Discovering, more or less simultaneously, that the contras would rather get rich than fight, Barry develops an elaborate scheme to supply the weapons to the gangsters and the narcotics to the guerrillas -- all the while pretending to carry on with his original assignment from Schafer.

The immense wealth Barry amasses as a result delights his loyal wife, Lucy (Sarah Wright Olsen). But it also arouses the suspicions of Craig McCall (E. Roger Mitchell), the local FBI agent in the area of Arkansas to which Schafer has relocated the Louisiana-bred Seals, as well as those of their new home town's Sheriff Downing (Jesse Plemons).

Director Doug Liman and writer Gary Spinelli revel in the improbability of their tale and the law-flouting skills of their protagonist. But, after further complications set in, they try to have it both ways where the white powder is concerned, condemning government hypocrisy while letting Barry himself off the hook.

Add to this ambivalence their explicit portrayal of the passionate nature of the central pair's bond and the constant vulgarity that marks the script, and the result is a free-for-all that makes apt fun for few.

The film contains strong sexual content, including graphic scenes of marital lovemaking, a glimpse of full nudity and implied aberrant behavior, some stylized combat and other violence, a drug theme, several uses of profanity as well as pervasive rough and much crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

[[In-content Ad]]
Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


The Doomsday Clock –the theoretical timepiece that measures humanity's march
he Doomsday Clock –the theoretical timepiece that measures humanity's march...

Catholic men share faith, fellowship at annual rally
The 2024 Catholic Men for Jesus Christ conference brought together ...

Seven U.S. cardinals pledge to help heal Ukraine's wounds of war through new fund
With Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine entering its third year...

En el Rito de Elección, el Obispo dice que “ser Católico hace la diferencia
Emilio Robles le da crédito a su prometida y a su familia...

Guadalupe: Mother of Humanity
Every year, in the run– up to her Dec. 12 feast day, more than 10 million...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.