I must admit, I ignored this one for a while because it seemed, on the surface, to be a retread of Blow. And while there are similar elements here, I realize now how wrong I was to write it off. This is one slick film, and a lot of fun to watch, given the subject matter.
I’m fully ready to defend Tom Cruise to his haters. Fight me. The guy has serious range, brings his all to every role, does all of his own stunts (seriously, that’s fucking impressive) and very rarely turns in a bad performance. Here, Cruise embraces real life wildman and pilot Barry Seal, a focal point of the cartel smuggling regime of the 80s. Drugs, money, guns, soldiers…if it fit in a plane, Seal could deliver it where it needed to go, no matter what. Cruise kills it, chewing scenery like a man possessed.
The film has a relentless sense of energy the whole way through. Cruise, director Doug Liman, composer Christophe Beck, and editor Andrew Mondshein all work together to inject a sense of dangerous fun, a brisk pace and chaotic recklessness into the true story of what would become the Iran-Contra Affair. It drips with the decadence and over the top attitude of its era, and is more fun than you can stuff in a sack and bury in your backyard.
Don’t sleep on this one like I did!