Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: Caleb Landry Jones

American Made Review (2017) | The Insane Lavish Life of Barry Seal

Who doesn’t like watching the money flow in? Wads of cash lying around, isn’t that the dream? Good news! American Made lets you live that dream through the eyes of a guy working secretively for the CIA in the 80s. It is the story of Barry Seal whom we saw in Narcos before, making a cameo. He was played by Dylan Bruno.

Doesn’t ring a bell? No? This guy right here:

Barry Seal played by Dylan Bruno in Narcos

Javier Pena called him McPickle.

So our McPickle in American Made is played by none other than the dashing Tom Cruise. Morsels of debonair are loud in him even though he is, what, 55 now? His presence gives the character of McPickle a new perspective and slaps a smiling handsome face on a man who “American” made a shit load of money.

Theme of American Made Movie (Spoilers)

American Made is intentionally kept humorous keeping into account the type of work Barry does. The irony lies in Barry Seal being untouchable, since he works for the CIA, which allows him to work even for the bad guys. No matter how ugly it gets, CIA always has his back. Primarily because he is really good at his job. That gives Barry wings for real.

still of Domhnall Gleeson as Monty Schafer in American Made

The absurdity of it all lies in the fact that a character like Barry Seal was created by the CIA in the first place. When things begin to go south, it was CIA only which ends up shredding his files, to wipe themselves clean of any involvement. That stays the highlight of the flick and goes on to paint a wicked picture for a top secret government body, which even though is capable of getting the job done, does things at hideous costs.

Direction and Plot of American Made

The great thing about American Made is its ballsy editing. Doug Liman isn’t afraid to experiment with super fast clips when he chooses to show his frames. Comic oozes out via pickle-situations, and they all beautifully complement his shaky frames. There are stunning bizarre angles from where he chooses to capture his characters, which tell us how good a director he is.

The good thing about American Made is, unlike other biopics, it doesn’t start off from Barry Seal’s past life. Instead within seconds gets directly to the point. A pilot of TWA, who is slowly succumbing to boredom with a stagnant life hits jackpot when he gets contacted by a CIA official Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson).

American Made movie still of Tom Cruise as Barry Seal

Free Lancing Really Pays

His mission initially involves a spy job, taking photographs by flying low over Central America, more like a reconnaissance. As that job progresses Schafer asks him to run errands for him to a certain Manuel Noriega in Panama who had ties with US intelligence. The crunch of money then forces Barry Seal to accept an offer from none other than the infamous Medellin Cartel. The job is to fly cocaine into the States which CIA chooses to overlook.

However, the DEA sniffs his cocaine act. To avoid them, he moves to Mena with his family convincing his wife. The next job is to run guns for Contras. On figuring out that Contras aren’t serious about their mission he starts running guns for the cartel. CIA sets up a Contra base in Mena for training them but many abscond.

JB – the Freeloader

Every crazy happy story has an injurious element. We have JB played by (Caleb Landry Jones), you might have seen him in Get Out before, who plays Barry’s brother-in-law. Offering him a job was a mistake as he gets marked by the cartel for getting caught by Sheriff Downing (Jesse Plemons) while he was running with a suitcase full of cash. Ends up losing his life as his car explodes in flames.

The Wanted Man

Another epic sight in the flick is when CIA decides to wipe its slate clean, shutting down Barry’s program. DEA, FBI and the state police and other agencies show up at his gate trying to get a piece of him, but he walks out unharmed nevertheless.

American Made movie still of Tom CruiseHowever, Barry figures out it isn’t the CIA who had his back this time, but the big Daddy White House itself. He is offered a mission to frame the Sandinistas to get their photos alongside the cartel. But White House releases those photos clearly showing Barry Seal’s face in it. It ends up putting him on the cartel’s cross-hairs.

He is convicted for a really light sentence requiring him to do 1000 hours of community service. Unfortunately, eventually the cartel gets him and kills him for ratting them out. CIA collects the remaining pieces of evidence thereafter to avoid their names from getting stained. The events later give rise to the Iran-Contra affair.

You can order American Made movie from here:

Issues with American Made

One apparent issue with the movie is that it inadvertently aggrandizes a villain. Despite how fun Barry seems, and the fact that he was just trying to make the most of a situation, he still was in the wrong to support the drug inflow. He wasn’t a hero. Period.

With the movie skimming the comic genre, it somehow sends the wrong message to the mass, a tad opposed to Narcos where you could tell the good guys and the bad guys apart. One might wish to live the lavish life of Barry Seal that wasn’t totally loyal to anybody but himself. There were twists and turns and close calls that saved his ass on a lot of occasions, that had him alive and breathing.

Barry got lucky on a lot of occasions, and with his slate shouting out loud (his conscience not so much) for all the good and the bad things that he did, because he was a talented opportunist, living a life so grand might seem like a good idea to many. That’s where the flick misconstrues its message unknowingly.

Dangerous characters of the Medellin gang like Pablo and Jorge Ochoa are shown in a fun light. You can’t take them seriously with all the killing.

Apart from that, even the screenplay isn’t that intriguing. The movie uses the following one-liner for comical effect, but using it more than once makes it less funny:

I am the gringo that always delivers.

The Final Verdict

The great thing about American Made is that it constantly narrates a story. Despite booking things for fun, there is a plot that is worth all the attention. The shortcomings of CIA, the government and the Reagan rule, it all comes out in the open. The way things were dealt back then, and how things will always remain the authority’s prerogative, are all things that will make you feel really puny and insignificant.

At the end of the day, you will remember American Made movie for all the cash you see. Barry makes so much money that it will literally hurt your eyes. There is cash everywhere. It is all really satisfying to watch since we all like to see heroes earning tons and living a prodigious life.

Enjoy this flick for its theme, its humour, and all the things that you feel when you see someone’s gaudy life flash on the big screen.

You can check out the trailer of American Made movie here:

Get Out Movie Review (2017) | An Intriguing Inventive Mystery

Get Out Movie is sheer genius. It is all because of the concept it entails and its remarkable execution. It puts in you a genuine feeling of horror and keeps you riveted throughout. That’s its biggest strength. That and the amazing story that it carries.

Jordan Peele marks his debut as director in style with a flick that will have you jumping on your seat. It is a breathtaking joyride that is abounding with ingenious revelations, and as you watch on and the threads untangle there is a sense of complacent satisfaction you get in the end that is beyond compare.

Plot Summary of Get Out Movie

Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington who is being invited by Rose Armitage, his white girlfriend, played by Allison Williams to her parents. The otherwise appearing normal family which constitutes of Catherine Keener as Rose’s Mom, and Bradley Whitford as Dad and Caleb Landry Jones as Rose’s brother Jeremy seem to be layering up lies. It becomes obvious to Chris when he talks to the black groundskeeper Walter and housekeeper Georgina that they are all hiding something. Chris goes on to unveil it and then ending up getting trapped into the great horrifying mystery of the Armitages.

still of daniel kaluuya in get out movie

Horror Feel

Get Out movie gives you the chills in a weird way. And no it isn’t a ghastly chill that coats around ghost elements. But instead it packs in some genuine horror in the form of its secret. A secret that would pop your eyes open just like it did for Chris. It builds up on it, its secret as people turn to gaze at Chris, or stop talking when they realize he is out of the scene. You hear your heart skip a beat when you see all the strange happenings. The way he is treated will have you scratching your head for a while until, of course, when the slow revelation begins to happen.

A mind is a  terrible thing to waste.

Everything has been beautifully done, and Jordan Peele makes sure there is plenty of sub-plots left to unfurl. Each of them have been aptly timed. And when you see them reach its revealing end you realize and come to appreciate the genius of Jordan Peele.

You can order Get Out from here:

The Sunken Place (Spoilers Ahead)

If you haven’t watched Get Out movie yet, it would be advisable to stop right here. Because what I am about to discuss will give away the nub of the entire story.

Get Out is beautifully balanced over the concept of hypnotism. While it breaks the general stereotypes people have in mind about hypnotism with an apt sarcasm coming from Chris, it aggrandizes hypnosis altogether by showing its real power. And it is a nightmare for those who consider hypnosis to be a mere meditative game.

We all go through that feeling of being trapped inside our body but what if that happens literally? Jordan milks that concept by presenting us The Sunken Place. A place inside our very own body where we are no longer in control. It is projected in the form of eternal darkness where we end up levitating losing ourselves. All we could do is see but what follows after ends up appearing like a dream.

It is the Sunken place that swallows Chris away as he falls inside his body, a concept that is so beautifully depicted that you can’t help but brood about it for hours. It is also very poetic if you look at it. As if you are shrinking from within and you have been eaten away by yourself. Like your soul has gone dormant and you have become a mere robot for the world to see. Don’t you get that feeling sometimes?

Other Points

It is hard not to notice how uncontrived things are deliberately kept. Get Out tags a realistic feel to it which is extraordinarily amplified by the characters the movie retain. They have all acted brilliantly keeping things as casual as they are supposed to be in the beginning.

You were one of my favorites.

Even at the time of the major outbreak when things begin to crumble and fall, the actors stack up a realistic feel to it. You become thoroughly engrossed and begin to relate with the protagonist. Watching him flutter and flee is hands down one of the most gratifying feeling you get.

By the time the movie reaches its culmination point it banks on some gore that we could have certainly lived without. Some might argue that the level of villainy the antagonists bring to the table is something that deserves an end like that. However the gore even though really satisfying to watch was an unnecessary inclusion. But then again it all depends on people’s taste.

Then the movie also kind of escalates by the end. You don’t expect it to pace up so quickly towards the finish line. The editing is great but the subtle concept ends up not being exploited enough.

Then there is the apparent demarcation it brings by thickening the line of black and white. It exploits that line too by pointing out all the good things the black have and are capable of that the whites want. That they are only rooting for them because of self-interest. Even though the concept is an intellectual thought it comes from the womb of a despicable issue that should die down with time.

The Final Verdict

Get Out movie is a beautifully written horror flick that chugs forward with the help of its astounding concept. It banks on some gore too. But all of it is so satisfactory to watch that you can’t applaud Jordan Peele enough to have thought something so inventive and original in the first place.

It is an intelligible and well crafted mystery movie that should not be missed for the world.

Check out our other movie reviews where Jordan Peele was involved one way or the other.

Check out the trailer of Get Out movie here: