Tom Cruise plays a fast-living drug smuggler in a formulaic but entertaining biopic
Tom Cruise reunites with ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ helmer Doug Liman in a lively romp based on the life of Barry Seal, a daredevil TWA pilot-turned-drug smuggler. According to this movie, he was also working for the CIA, so Domhnall Gleeson sidles up to him in a bar and recruits him to take photographs over Colombia while posing as an aviation CEO. Attracting the attention of a young Pablo Escobar and his cronies, Seal is signed up by them and begins a triple life that’s certainly entertaining to watch.
Liman mines the story for familiar but fun comedy – Seal flees the scene of a crash on a child’s bike, covered in white powder – though it never reaches the comedic heights of rise-and-fall classics such as ‘Goodfellas’ or ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Nobody seems to get high on their own supply, which seems unlikely, and there are a few other less credible touches, from the much younger wife (Sarah Wright) to Seal’s perfectly fitted ’70s shirts and pants.
By the time the film reaches the ’80s, it’s in formulaic mode. Tom Cruise is good, but it’s hard to forget he’s Tom Cruise – and it’s difficult not to wonder if Matthew McConaughey would have been even more fun.
Cast and crew