Cert: 15 Runtime: 115 mins Director: Doug Liman Cast: Tom Cruise, Dohmnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Caleb Landry Jones and Jesse Plemons
The CIA. The White House. Pablo Escobar. One Man Played Them All
After the epic fail Tom Cruise had with The Mummy a few months ago, Tom Cruise has returned with American Made. It really came under the radar for a lot of people. American Made was one of the top scripts from the Blacklist in 2014, and went from a Ron Howard project to Doug Liman of Edge.of.Tomorrow fame. The trailer made it look entertaining but is it? So what is American Made all about? Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.
American Made is thrilling, fun and OTT! This is a relentlessly energised and seriously fun examination of the true life story of Barry Seal. Liman and Cruise took a gamble and went for something different other than an awards baiting or dialogue heavy expose has paid off hugely, with American Made easily becoming one of the year’s most purely fun and enjoyable rides. This is a very different kind of biopic and that’s what makes it exciting. Liman really brings out the flare here, he brings a dynamic look to the film. The action sequences are thrilling, the air-plane scenes are pretty intense acrobatic ballets. The film’s story is not only engaging but also witty and hilarious. There are hardly any stagnant moments so the probability of you getting bored is very low. At one point you will question is anything else going to happen? Just planes, drugs and trying to launder money….well it does improve. Cruise’s natural talents for comedy and when mixed with his easy going charisma that has made him such a beloved acting figure, Seal offers Cruise one of his best and most interesting roles in his long and varied career.
Cert: 12A Runtime: 141 mins Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell, Jesse Plemmons, Amy Ryan, Will Rogers and Dakin Matthews
We have to have the conversations our governments can’t
Steven Spielberg is a man that I will always refer to my first director. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s you are surrounded by his work. But for me he hasn’t been on the greatest run of form for some time, the last good Spielberg film was Munich. Bridge of Spies is his latest film and yet another collaboration with the James Stewart of our generation Tom Hanks. It has received good feedback all round so I was anticipating a return to form here. So what is Bridge of Spies about? During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers’ only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.
Bridge of Spies has a steady focus on character and dialogue, and Spielberg never deviates from that making the movie emotionally effective.The reason why Bridge of Spies manages to work so well is largely due to Spielberg’s direction and handling of the story. This movie has a very traditional narrative style, a lot of details to cover and mostly dialogue to keep it going. So, it is a testament to Spielberg as to how he manages to make this movie so engaging. The dialogue in this movie is captivatingly written. If the dialogue in this movie were not first- rate, this movie could have been an absolute bore. But the Coen Brothers and Matt Charman support Spielberg’s near perfect direction with one of the most engaging dialogue. The dialogue is crisp, emotionally stirring and filled with humour.
Mark Rylance may be the hot contender for supporting actor during awards season. He is so magnificently restrained, lovable and understated that it is a joy to watch whenever he is on screen. He gets some of the stand-out dialogue and he delivers every single time. Now to Tom Hanks, when does he ever make a bad film? In Bridge of Spies he manages to shine through yet again Spielberg brings the best out of Hanks. What intrigued me was the genuine bond between Rylance’s character and Hank’s character. The two of them share a few scenes together and complement each other. Amy Ryan gets some limited screen time but manages to fill those with great emotional subtlety. She adds a significant amount of emotional heft to the movie. However, the movie rests a lot on the shoulders of Hanks and Rylance. This is a true return to form for Steven Spielberg it may not win many awards but I’m sure it will end up highly in his greatest hits.