Opening this week

‘American Made’ film review: Tom Cruise shines as a corrupt pilot addicted to flying and money

Doug Liman’s pop history lesson of America’s involvement in South America in the 1970s and ’80s is based on an incredible true story.

American Made is based on one of those incredible life-beats-fiction-any-day stories, which probably explains its jaunty tone, seriocomic approach to two crucial decades in American and South American politics, and the slightly bewildered grin that rarely leaves its lead character’s face.

It all seems unbelievable, but it isn’t, and behind the saturated period detail, retro soundtrack and animated inserts and newsreel footage is a cautionary and always relevant tale of high-level corruption in low places.

Doug Liman’s movie is loosely based on the non-fiction book American Made: Who Killed Barry Seal? Pablo Escobar or George HW Bush by Shaun Atwood. Seal (Tom Cruise) is so bored with his job as a commercial airline pilot that during one flight, just for the fun of it, he fiddles with the controls to see if anybody notices.

Seal gets an upgrade when he is recruited by Central Intelligence Agency operative Schafer (Domnhall Gleeson) to fly planes into restive countries in South America and conduct aerial surveillance. In Liman’s fast-paced movie, which packs in numerous developments revolving around the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-1980s, Seal starts a side business in flying cocaine from Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel in Colombia alongside acting as a government spy.

It’s only the beginning. Since Seal is the “guy that gets the job done”, he gets heavily involved with the Medellin cartel as well as other government agency schemes, including supporting the armed training of Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries in his backyard. Seal and his planes are always in demand; he is seemingly immune to prosecution; the money is pouring out of his ears; his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) begins to decorate and throw parties.

American Made (2017).

With a raised eyebrow and tongue firmly in cheek, Liman and scriptwriter Gary Spinelli deliver an always watchable account of American adventurism in places where they don’t deserve to be. Part pop history lesson and part old-fashioned cautionary tale of greed and excess, the movie is propelled by a superb central performance. Tom Cruise is finally playing a real character rather than a superhero who leaps onto taxiing planes and scales skyscrapers, and he is compelling as the morally hollow pilot whose can-do attitude allows him to go places literally and figuratively.

The supporting cast is equally strong, including Gleeson as Seal’s shadowy CIA handler and Alejandro Edda as notorious Medellin cartel member Jorge Ochoa. Cruise dominates, as he has in every recent movie, but this time, it actually works in the story’s favour.

Support our journalism by paying for Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.