The 1980s are a very turbulent time. It is also an era, when the USA try to control the states of South-America and the Medellín Cartel develops the drug trafficking in the United States. Finally, it’s the time of a smart pilot who benefits from that situation and rises literally from rags to riches: Barry Seal.
BARRY SEAL – ONLY IN AMERICA (AMERICAN MADE)
In his new movie, Tom Cruise embodies the adventurer, who looks for a better lifestyle for himself and his family. It is a real story. Even though, or perhaps especially because of this fact, “Barry Seal: Only in America” (American Made) is very entertaining.
Filmed as the spectator itself would holds the camera, it’s easy to develop emotion as well as a relation to Barry Seal’s life and motivation. The movie shows Barry as a smart go-getter with a little bit of a “Catch Me If You Can”-attitude. But we also see that Barry has feelings, and is sometimes even living moral dilemmas when family gets involved and when he is confronted with certain brutalities of the drug cartel’s way of handling unwanted witnesses.
THE BACKGROUND HISTORY
Of course, Barry Seal’s history plays the main role. But, besides this and its entertaining character, the movie is also a documentary about the movement in Colombia and South-America in general during the early 80s. We learn more about political conflicts, drug lords like Pablo Escobar and the helpless attempts of the CIA to control other countries as well as their own one.
THE FUNNY ABSURDITIES
Barry Seal is a very talented pilot, too good for his job at TWA airline. He is looking for adventures. Therefore, he is very enthused when the CIA offers him a unique deal. Although, the job isn’t paid well, it opens the doors – or better the sky – for Barry to establish a very lucrative business. So, he becomes an employee of the Medellín Cartel, run by the Ochoa Vázques brothers, and lead by Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, George Jung, and José Gonzalo Rodrígues Gacha.
The film takes us on a fast trip through Colombia and USA. Even though everybody knows that the smuggle of drugs and weapons is a very bad thing, “Barry Seal: Only In America” (American Made) creates a well-being. One reason for this is the performance of Tom Cruise. The actor, who belongs to Hollywood’s top-league and celebrated his 55th birthday this year, plays on a high level. Meanwhile, it’s his 41st movie. Once more, Cruise plays absolute credible and authentically. His play makes it easy to feel pleasure and pain with Barry Seal.
Moreover, the cast is brilliant. Along with Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright Olsen, well-known from TV series like CSI: Miami, plays Lucy Seal. Her performance is outstanding. She makes the viewers empathize with her role in every scene that she appears.
Domhnall Gleeson, son of the amazing Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and well-known from Star Wars – The Force Awakens, performs Monty Schafer, a creative CIA agent, who has probably read too many comic books. Besides the other scary drug lords, Alejandro Edda plays the two-faced Jorge Ochoa.
Altogether, the actors work well together and form a believable ensemble for the story. The most important part was that the director, Doug Liman, never let the film become too dry, but added just the right amount of humor and attitude to the characters and the story itself.
As almost each fast success concludes in a tragedy, also “Barry Seal: Only in America” (American Made) doesn’t terminate with a happy end. The movie shows us with a subtle moralizing undertone that the lure of profit is short-lived. After the awakening, nobody could turn the clock back. Even though, “Barry Seal: Only in America” (Amercian Made) tries to show a message at the end, I missed a clear statement about the danger of drugs and weapons in general.
Tom Cruise – Barry Seal
Domhnall Gleeson – Monty Shafer
Sarah Wright Olsen – Lucy Seal
E. Roger Mitchell – McCall
Jesse Plemons – Sheriff Downing
Lola Kirke – Judy
Alejandro Edda – Jorge Ochoa
Benito Martinez – Rangel
Caleb Landry Jones – JB
Jayma Mays – Dana Sibota
OUR RATING IN %
“Barry Seal: Only in America” is a surprisingly entertaining, captivating movie. Barry Seal fascinates as a person as well as a movie. His life can most definitely spark interesting reflections on many different matters regarding history, justice and politics.
Pictures: © Universal Pictures