What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in American Made – Slate Magazine (blog)

Like The Wolf of Wall Street, American Made is based on the real-life exploits of a “lovable” rogue, Barry Seal. Also like TWWS, it gets us rooting for our hero despite his engaging in morally questionable, not to mention illegal, activities like gun-running and drug smuggling. To win us over, it uses many of the same techniques employed by TWWS: having our dubious hero played by an extremely charismatic star, in this case Tom Cruise, fully at home in the cockpit as another cocksure pilot; giving him a gorgeous blonde wife and adorable children for whom he’s doing it all; and, that standby of engaging villains from Richard III to House of Cards’  Frank Underwood, breaking the fourth wall with confessions directly into the camera, thus making us co-conspirators.

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