I’m not the biggest Tom Cruise fan. For me, he doesn’t use enough colors when he paints his characterizations, and when one of his movies needs a jolt of energy, the solution generally is to cut to him running someplace. I’ve never forgiven him for the first three Mission: Impossible movies because they seemed completely at odds with the teamwork-centric approach of the original TV series, though the last two have been refreshingly entertaining and a return to form.

But I was intrigued by his latest project, American Made, the story of Barry Seal, a real-life commercial airline pilot who had a second career during the eighties running guns to South America for the CIA, and then a third career concurrently running drugs to the US for South American cartels. I wasn’t disappointed in the movie - Cruise’s character isn’t morally ambiguous (like in The Firm), but rather is morally agnostic, as in Risky Business … he’s so used to getting by on a smile and improvisational skills, and in so in love with risk, that he doesn’t seem to even think about the ethical implications of his decisions until it is too late.

That’s a Cruise I’m willing to watch, if only because it means he is willing to commit to a character who is a complete antihero. American Made is an entertaining look at a particular episode in our nation’s history, when foreign policy got a little unhinged. Put it up there with the terrific Charlie Wilson’s War as a strong example of how a movie can be entertaining and still wear its message reasonably lightly. It is, I think, worth a look.




That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Sláinte!!