Tom Cruise (aka, The Smirking Dwarf) channels former TWA pilot Barry Seal perfectly in this movie “based on true events.” It’s the late 1970s and the CIA approaches Barry Seal with a proposition: quit TWA and fly planes down to Central America on reconnaissance missions. Seal likes the sound of that and does the fly-overs of Communist bases. The CIA is so happy with Seal’s photos, they give him additional missions: deliver money to Colonel Noriega in return for top secret intel, deliver some weapons to insurgents, etc. Barry Seal decides to free-lance a little and starts bringing cocaine into the U.S….lots of cocaine. And, Seal makes millions of dollars. Part of the fun of American Made shows the difficulty of stashing bags and bags of cash.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. The CIA dumps Barry Seal, the D.E.A. busts him, and Colonel Oliver North sends Seal down to Central America for “one last mission.” Tom Cruise perfectly captures the arrogance, greed, and lunacy of Barry Seal. American Made is a cautionary tale that stings at the end. GRADE: B