In the Spotlight
Movie Rating: 5/5
By Sumiitra Yiohan Sooriaarratchi
Tom Cruise pulls off another brilliant performance in this adrenaline packed movie based on a true story about the C.I.A (Central Intelligence Agency of the United States) courier pilot turned drug smuggler – Barry Seal (a well settled man with a family who worked as a pilot for Trans World Airlines – T.W.A – before being unceremoniously accosted by the C.I.A). Recruited by the C.I.A to perform dubious off-the-record missions in Central America, Barry Seal gets drawn into an even darker game when the infamous Colombian drug barons Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa of the Medellín Drug Cartel approach him to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
The film got me thinking about some of the important aspects of unseen power brokering in U.S politics and the sad results of U.S interference in Central and South America – it seems like the only achievements are death, drug running, corruption, dictators, banana republics, poverty and destitution – the people always lose while the military-industrial complex and drug lords grow stronger. The power and influence of the C.I.A (that appears to be nothing more than a criminal agency answering to no one) cannot be understated in how U.S foreign policy is implemented; it truly shows how unaware the American public is of the level of deceit and corruption in the U.S system. The C.I.A has its trademark of destruction and destabilization stamped all over the war zones and trouble spots of the world; from the Vietnam War to the mayhem in the Middle East, the Iranian Islamic Revolution, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and chaos in Africa. This vicious cycle feeds on it self in a never ending charade of government, mafia and business working together to screw the people.
A talented pilot, Barry struggles to juggle his family life and his role as an undercover C.I.A operative / drug smuggler. The amount of money he makes is hilarious and the movie is filled with funny scenes where Barry uses his quick thinking to get out of tough situations – sometimes it seems like he’s always on the run from something or someone. As the story progresses you can’t help but feel sorry for him as he gets deeper into the tussle between the C.I.A, D.E.A (Drug Enforcement Agency), F.B.I (Federal Bureau of Investigations) and the drug cartels. Forced into becoming an under cover agent for the D.E.A in order to help them get evidence that the drug cartels are working with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua; it seems as though Barry is being pulled in every direction.
One lesson learned is never to get too deeply involved with either the drug cartels or your government as both will betray, abandon, neutralize or eliminate you when you cease to be of use to them.