This Week's Review: "American Made"

When I make a mistake, it is usually gigantic and embarrassing. That describes my September 30 visit to the movies; I walked into the wrong auditorium and saw a film I had planned to avoid like the bubonic plague, “American Made.” By the time I realized I was in the wrong auditorium, “Battle of the Sexes,” the film I had intended to see, was well underway, and I was not about to wait two hours for the next showing.

“American Made” is loosely based on a 2016 book I have not read, Del Hahn’s “Smuggler’s End.” The book and film cover the sordid life and career of Barry Seal. If half of what Seal claimed were true, he would rank as one of the worst scoundrels of the 20th century. I never saw one redeeming quality in the character, at least as Tom Cruise portrayed him.

Seal’s career as a gun smuggler, cocaine smuggler and government informant seems to have provided him with an income the Getty family would envy. In Cruise’s portrayal, he is totally amoral, with no understanding of the damage he is wreaking on his family and nation. Hahn’s book supposedly discredits much of Seal’s testimony, so I have no idea how much of the film is credible. I will admit that Cruise is adept at playing what I can only describe as a scumbag; I also have to admit that I do not have much respect for Cruise as a person.

I should have waited for the next showing of “Battle of the Sexes.”