"American Made" is based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history. The story follows Barry Seal (Cruise), a TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America. The clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair scandal spawns the birth of the Medellin Cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.(Gary Reber)
Special features include deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Doug Liman (HD 09:56); six featurettes: "American Storytellers" (HD 06:39), "Cruise And Liman: A Conversation" (HD 05:25), "In The Wings" (HD 06:01), "Shooting American Made" (HD 04:16), "Flying Home" (HD 04:50) and "The Real Barry Seal" (HD 05:51); upfront previews and a digital copy.
The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa XT Plus, Arri Amira camera systems at 2.8K and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. The picture is a mish-mash of visuals including dated video footage in 1.33;1 aspect ratio, black-and-white brief photo segments, and real-life footage. The color palette is nicely saturated with a wide color gamut that is rich and warm in hue. Colors are often intense and pop. Earthy hues predominate in the locales of South America and Arkansas. Fleshtones vary in hue, but generally exhibit a natural or suntanned look. HDR contrast is excellent with deep black levels on display in spot objects and night segments, revealing shadow delineation, and bright highlights, such as white levels. Resolution is excellent with fine detail seen in all manner of object texture, foliage surfaces, clothing and in facial features, such as complexions, skin pores, hair and beards. The overall look is bright and colorful throughout, which is often intensely striking. A colorful WOW! segment is from 0:53:28 to 0:54:06. This is a real intense experience that delivers a pleasing visual palette. (Gary Reber)
The DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is also a mish-mash of dynamics and nuances, with lots of sonic activity in the atmospherics and sound effects department, for a sense of unbelievable realism. There is a lot of airplane sound effects with loud engine noises and crash sounds involving take off and erratic landings, all related to guns, drugs and money laundering. There is simply a wild spectrum of sonics that delivers a sense of constant mayhem. Deep bass is at times powerful, enhanced with .1 LFE energy. Surround envelopment is effectively aggressive. The music score is comprised of pop selections and original scoring, which is nicely recorded. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with decent spatial integration. This is a wild mixture of sonics with excellent fidelity. The Immersive Sound element is interlaced with low-level and loud music segments and object-based sound effects such as inside cabin TWA engine noise, hotel lobby ambience, panned airplane sounds, terminal “loading and unloading of passengers” IT announcer, restaurant ambience, rural locals ambience, Barry's thought voice, prop-plane engine noise, skimming tree tops on take-off, gunfire, helicopter, jailed inmate muffled chatter, city street sounds, rough prop plane landing, carpenters hammering, seagulls, prop planes in flight, prop-plane crash, birds chirping and other atmospherics and sound effects. Some of the sound effects carry some SPL weight and are effective with exceptional power and precision, while with others, the perception is subliminal. The music carries the most weight throughout. Much in the way of soundscape dimension has been ignored by the sound designers. (Gary Reber)