Sound & Vision - - UHD BLU-RAY - Bran­don A. Duhamel


The dram­edy ac­tion film Amer­i­can Made from di­rec­tor Doug Li­man ( Swingers, Edge of To­mor­row) is based on the true story of air­line pilot Barry Seal (played here by Tom Cruise), who in the late 1970s was re­cruited by the CIA to be­come a drug run­ner for the Medellin car­tel in Cen­tral Amer­ica. Seal even­tu­ally be­came a key fig­ure in what would turn out to be one of the big­gest po­lit­i­cal scan­dals in the fol­low­ing decade, the Iran-con­tra “gate.” While this might sound like heavy ma­te­rial, Amer­i­can Made is far from a heavy film. Li­man and screen­writer Gary Spinelli in­fuse the story with a ma­jor dose of com­edy, giv­ing it more of a “Big Short with ac­tion” feel. Cruise slides right into the role of rap­scal­lion Seal with charisma to spare, while Li­man’s di­rec­tion is taut and quick-paced through­out.

Amer­i­can Made was shot in 2.8K res­o­lu­tion on var­i­ous Arri dig­i­tal cam­eras and ar­rives on 4K Ul­tra HD in an HEVC 2160p en­code­ment framed at 1.85:1 with HDR10 high dy­namic range. The over­all im­age could eas­ily pass as be­ing shot on film thanks to what are ap­par­ently some ex­cel­lent film grain ef­fects added in post-pro­cess­ing. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of HDR on this film is the first I’ve seen that’s geared more to­ward play­ing up the vivid­ness of the color pal­ette than the pop of the high­lights, and there are only a few mo­ments when the lat­ter comes into play. Com­pared with the also-ex­cel­lent Blu-ray, the col­ors here are al­most psy­che­delic, fit­ting for a film that starts out in 1978.

Amer­i­can Made gets a pretty solid DTS:X im­mer­sive mix on 4K Ul­tra HD. It’s not as ag­gres­sive as some other mixes, but it’s full of at­mos­phere. The over­head chan­nels are used ju­di­ciously to help with the sound of air­planes fly­ing over­head, and they spread out the sound of the pe­riod mu­si­cal track. Low end is beefy, while di­a­logue comes through plainly.

Amer­i­can Made isn’t over­flow­ing with must-see spe­cial fea­tures, but there are a few that are en­ter­tain­ing, all lo­cated on the Blu-ray Disc. Top of the list is “The Real Barry Seal,” in which Seal’s son rem­i­nisces about life with his fa­ther while old fam­ily pho­tos and movies me­an­der by. There are also six deleted scenes with op­tional com­men­tary. Universal packs this set with a Movies Any­where Dig­i­tal Copy, al­low­ing you to watch the film dig­i­tally on prac­ti­cally any device across mul­ti­ple providers, in­clud­ing Vudu, Google Play, Ama­zon, itunes, Fan­dango, and the Movies Any­where ser­vice it­self.

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