Viewed – 16 January 2018 online rental
I’m not afraid to say I’m a fan of Tom Cruise. If ever there was a genuine ‘movie star’ this guy is it and has been in some of the greatest movies ever made, as well as always being a watchable and likeable presence. This latest effort follows the true story of Barry Seal, an airline pilot who inexplicably becomes embroiled in drug running for notorious drug baron Pablo Escobar as well as working for the CIA. It’s an unbelievably crazy story that also just happens to be based on real events.
Doug ‘the bourne identity’ Liman’s movie certainly follows a similarly erratic, caper approach to it’s story telling as seen in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and even seems to echo TV hit Breaking Bad, what with Cruise’s gradually spiralling out of control situation, hiding money, trying not to get killed whilst also looking out for his wife and kid. Cruise brings his usual charisma to his performance but it’s refreshingly free of those typical Cruise-isms making for a more believable and human performance than we’ve seen in a while. Add to this welcome support from a slimy Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, The Last Jedi) and assured direction from Liman and I had a great time with this.
I was surprised how little focus the movie has on Pablo Escobar, reducing the man to little more than a cameo. Also it’s a bit too mad from the off and took some getting into, and is a bit too light-hearted when a bit more grit and darkness might have aided the movie’s overall impact. Yet once the journey started and stakes kept getting raised I was suitably gripped.
Verdict: 3.5 /5