Directed by Doug Liman (2017)
by Rosalie Kicks!, Old Sport
Making use of Tom Cruise’s winning smile reminiscent from his Risky Business days, is probably about the only thing this movie got right for me. Tommy makes a despicable person seem endearing, which means he is doing his job. At the end of the day, I’m not questioning why this story was told. I am just left wondering why this version of the story was.
Director Doug Liman, referred to the film’s story as a “fun lie based on a true story.” What is bothersome is that audience members viewing this film will miss the whole “somewhat based on a true story” angle and leave theaters most likely remembering the lies rather than learning the truth.
The movie opens in the late seventies, Barry Seal is a pilot for TWA and is apparently bored. So much so, that he is in the habit of pulling pranks such as turning off the autopilot and causing turbulence, just to get a rise out of the passengers. Luckily for Barry, the CIA walks into his life in the form of Domhnall Gleeson to provide some excitement. The CIA enlists Barry to fly covert missions over Central America to obtain information that will assist with the war on communism.
During one of his missions, his plane is taken down which leads to an impromptu meeting with the Medellin Cartel. Lo and behold, Barry becomes a drug smuggler. For the rest of the movie, we witness Barry flying the skies and trying to figure out where to stash his copious amounts of cash that he and his family can’t seem to spend fast enough.
Overall, the movie seems to be pulling and zooming in various directions. The “caught on video” style of shooting left me scratching my head wondering if this was the same person that brought us Edge of Tomorrow. There are not enough wigs in the world for Tommy to cover up the plot holes within this story. Does it want to tell the account of Barry Seal’s dealings with the government? Or should it focus on the drug cartel? Then there is the story of corruption by our government officials in an effort to profiteer from war? Amongst all that is going on, Barry’s family seems to be non-existent. We never pay witness to the toll his choices in life take on them. Scenes keep flying at you, literally. There is no real explanation. We are just supposed to accept this version of the story and go with it.
Along the same vein as The Wolf of Wall Street, a director and writer have once again tried to humanize a person that committed serious crimes. Instead of pointing out the severity of the actions they have done. We are all supposed to sit back, chomp our popcorn, sip our soda pop, throw our heads back and laugh at the hilarity. Who cares if what Barry did hurt people around him? None of that matters, because he had cash pouring out of briefcases, bought tons of cars, and banged his wife while he flew a plane...or did he?
We all know how this story ends, because we have seen it too many times.