Review: ‘American Made’ cruises through action

Story by Ahmad Thomas / Contributing Writer

It’s hard not to root for the money-laundering, drug-smuggling double agent of a protagonist in “American Made.” Mr. Barry Seal, played by Tom Cruise, keeps a fast-paced attitude, moving from one boss to another and back and forth across the border, and his character is all too intriguing.

It seems as if no setback can stop Seal. After one job comes another. He must think he is on top of the world, and the film utilizes a similar approach.

There is something to be said for Seal’s unusual willingness to engage in the highly dangerous activity he partakes in. Associated with the Medellín Cartel, he consistently sneaks cocaine across the American border, an act that ultimately aggravates viewers. But uneasy reactions are the product of Director Doug Liman’s desire to maintain an intense tempo, which he easily achieved.

As you watch Seal, you almost envy the guy. He’s a bored pilot who is offered the chance to work for the CIA, which puts him in the pocket of what will become the most successful cartel the world has ever known. And though not many can relate to Seal’s business in the cartel, most can relate to his need to provide for his wife and children. Anybody with a family understands that deep, primal need to be a provider for the ones you care about, and nothing — not even working for a cartel — can get in the way of that.

That’s exactly why Seal is such a likable guy. He doesn’t outright murder people, and he doesn’t sell American secrets. One could argue, though, that he contributes to violent crime and addiction by smuggling, but the film bypasses that so readily that viewers seem to disregard it. Seal doesn’t seem to care either. He makes millions of dollars, which makes him plenty of enemies, but he’s on top of the world.

The only question the film didn’t answer was “Why?” Yes, Seal needs to provide for his family, but he doesn’t need to continue with the cartel in order to do that. He made money fast, so why keep doing this? Why risk life in prison? Why?

Overall, the action is enjoyable. However, the film could show more of where Seal is coming from in his thoughts regarding the cartel. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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