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American Made also known as “ Barry Seal: Sólo en América,” “ Baris Sylas: Amerikos sukcius,” “Barry Seal - Una storia americana,” “Barry Seal: A beszállító,” “Barry Seal: American Traffic,” “Barry Seal: El traficante,” “Barry Seal: Kaçakçi,” “Barry Seal: Król przemytu,” “Barry Seal: Only in America,” “Barry Seal: Trafic în stil american,” “Barry Seal: Traficante Americano,” “Feito na América,” “Totzeret America,” «Бари Сийл: наркотрафикантът,» «Сделано в Америке»

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity.

Check back later for review coming from contributor Alexander Malsan by Sep 30

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Biography Action Crime Drama-Comedy
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 29, 2017 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Barry Seal
The real Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal transported illegal drugs into his airbase in Mena, Arkansas.
Grave marker of Adler Berriman Seal—July 16, 1939-February 19, 1986
His grave marker. Seal died in Baton Rouge on February 19, 1986 (age 46)—assassinated in his car with a Mac-10 machine gun by the Columbian Medellin Cartel.

…the wages of sin is death… —Romans 6:23

Copyright, Universal Pictures

What is a “LARRIKIN”?—an Australian word meaning “a boisterous, often badly behaved young man… a maverick” / mischievous… rowdy, but good hearted / “playfully rebellious against and contemptuous of authority and convention” / “a young hoodlum or hooligan”

Copyright, Universal Pictures

How much of the film is TRUTH? Was Barry Seal really just amusingly eccentric—a good-hearted larrikin? What does it purposely leave out?

Investigative journalist and author Daniel Hopsicker is an expert on Barry Seal, the illegal drug trade, and the CIA. He has expressed strong criticism of this film for arrogantly changing history, and says it covers up some of the biggest lies of the drug war. He says it “is supposed to be the true story of Barry Seal. It isn’t. …turns Seal story into “madcap ’80’s romp”… Barry Seal was an American Drug Lord, in a country that isn’t supposed to have any. …American Made isn’t really about Barry Seal… it’s about Doug Liman and Tom Cruise. …There are abundant reasons to be suspicious of the motives behind the making of American Made.”

Copyright, Universal Pictures

The true story of Barry Seal is reportedly told much more accurately in such books as…
Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America (Dr. Roger Morris)
The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA (Terry Reed and John Cummings)
Barry & ‘the Boys’: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History (Daniel Hopsicker)

Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring: Tom CruiseBarry Seal
Domhnall GleesonMonty Schafer
Sarah Wright … Lucy Seal
Jesse Plemons … Sheriff Downing
Caleb Landry Jones … JB
Lola Kirke … Judy Downing
Jayma Mays … Dana Sibota
See all »
Director: Doug Liman—“Edge of Tomorrow” (2014), “The Bourne Identity” (2002)
Producer: Jill Ahrens
Ryan Ahrens
See all »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “during the 1980s, a pilot lands work for the CIA—and as a drug runner in the south

Based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot and hustler, is unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning Communist threat in Central America. Soon, Seal finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the U.S., one that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually resulted in the Iran Contra scandal. He was instrumental in the capture of the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.”

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—The movie is well-made. It is funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, realistic and very cool. I totally enjoyed most of it. There were plenty of good aircraft scenes, as well as shooting and crashing (but no blood and gore). This was good to see. This movie is a remarkable glimpse into the life of a fun-loving man who ventured down the slippery slope of compromise. It gives the realistic moral to the story. Unlike many movies, this one clearly portrays the steps taken and the end result. It was also careful to show the increasing depths of compromise, until the situation was too far gone and literally out of his control.

He was a loving husband and father, very good at his job, who also happened to be a larrikin. The show repeated the phrase many times that aptly summed him up: he liked to leap before he thought.

From a big picture, this movie is one where the main character is a bad guy. He was doing good from one perspective, but it was actually bad from another (better) perspective. He didn’t plan to hurt anyone. He didn’t set out to be a crook. But, nevertheless, a desire for adventure and the love of money got the better of him. He became the bad guy… and he got what was coming to him. I heartily commend this film for this very fact. It showed the consequences of sin.

Of course, the main character thinks he is a good guy. He repeatedly just “delivered the packages,” somehow excusing himself of wrongdoing. But he knew what he was doing. And he was good at it. Coerced or not, he was an informed participant and happy benefactor. He even applied his personal genius to make the ongoing work highly successful (in the short-to-medium term).

The moral to the story is simple. Don’t do crime. ESPECIALLY not drugs. You always have a choice. Once you get in, it’s almost impossible to get out. You will pay. This movie demonstrates that truth nicely.

I have no knowledge of the history this movie is based on, so my comments are strictly limited to the movie itself. Hence I won’t comment on politics, corruption or international relations. This movie shows many bystanders who watch and see, but turn the other way, e.g., the wife who didn’t really care about dishonest gain, as long as her family was secure.

In truth, the casual bystander is not truly innocent. He/she is guilty of inaction and apathy towards a crime/sin. In the end, this movie showed it for what it was. The ‘innocent’ wife (and children) end up back where they started, but with a dead brother and husband. Crime (including drugs) always has consequences, even for the ‘innocent’ bystanders.

There are so many Biblical principles demonstrated in this film!

  • “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them… ‘We will get all sorts of valuable things, and fill our houses with plunder’… These men waylay only themselves! Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it” (Proverbs 1:10-19 NIV).
  • People “who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:9-10a).
  • “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15 NIV).
  • “Do not let your heart envy sinners” (Provers 23:17-18).
  • “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills… This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth… When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies” (Psalm 73).
Important note: I highly commend what appeared to be a loving and faithful marriage in this movie! The main character is semi-concerned about providing for his family. Even when things go pear-shaped, his first thought is for their welfare. However, the sexual intimacy between a husband and wife should not be acted out on a movie screen. This is unacceptable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tim, age 32 (Australia)
Movie Critics
…Tom Cruise’s aviator sunglasses can’t disguise the flaws in this playful but shallow take on 80s pilot Barry Seal’s dealings with drug cartels and the CIA… [2/5]
Simran Hans, The Guardian
…When Tom Cruise is Tom Cruising, history takes a backseat… [2/5]
Clarisse Loughrey, Independent [UK]
…Tom Cruise’s latest is better than ‘The Mummy,’ but that’s not saying much… [3/5]
James Luxford, Metro [UK]

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.