Another weekend arrives and so too comes another round of movies. To start things off I went with my friend to see Ben Affleck’s newest film entitled Argo. Not only does Mr. Affleck star in this movie but he was also the producer and director of the film as well, which has me worried he’s following in Stallone’s footsteps. Regardless, for those who haven’t seen the trailers playing the last four months, Argo focuses on the Iranian crisis, in which 60 American hostages were held hostage by the Iranian public. Six of the hostages, played by numerous people, escape to the Canadian ambassador’s house, where they hide from the radical soldiers. To help get these six out, the government sends in Tony Mendez (Affleck) a CIA specialist who has a crazy idea to get them out, produce a fake movie with the fugitives being the crew of the movie.
So what can I say about this movie that is based on a true story. The answer is a lot of things, starting with the visuals of the movie. Argo’s setting is well put together, taking a combination of three worlds and blending them into an amazing blast into the past. The hectic streets of Iran, the busy high and mighty world of Hollywood, and the stern, secretive halls of the CIA building are captured in very minute details. What does this mean to the audience? Well for me it helped pull me into the movie, helping me feel that I was a part of 1970/1980 world. Complementing the detailed settings is the integration of news clips from this time, blending them smoothly into the modern day filming. Instead of overdoing the news clips though, Affleck sparingly used these clips at just the right moments, my favorites being the Jimmy Carter addresses to the public. However, the setting and edition can only do so much, but none of it is possible without good camera work, and Argo does indeed have that. The visual crew managed to choose just the right angle to capture the emotions of the scene helping to bring out the chaos, intensity, and torment that filled the crisis. As a finishing touch, the grainy filter helped add a little edge to the film, making the movie seem like a live documentary.
Although the camerawork was impressive, the acting was also another component that helped bring the movie alive. Affleck did a nice job playing the CIA agent role, using his lady pleasing scowl to mirror his intense nature. Bryan Cranston who played Mendez’s boss was also well done, as Cranston’s strong face and rough voice gave the character an edge that promoted challenge and driving force. As for the hostages, well they definitely looked the part with their 70’s hairstyles and aviator glasses, but aside from some occasional spurts of dialog their facial expressions did most of the talking. My favorite actors had to be Alan Arkin and John Goodman, the two movie men who were the backbone of the Argo project. Both of these seasoned actors were hilarious, essentially a real life Statler and Waldorf who were happy to insult almost every aspect of the Hollywood world. My buddy and I couldn’t help, but laugh as the two ridiculed the politics and laziness of the movie magic world, constantly working the system of corrupt agents and lawyers who were looking for a quick buck. The dynamic duo delivered there incredible dialog perfectly, adding another level to help the words strike home. These two may have made up a large percentage of why I enjoyed this movie.
Argo has a lot of other qualities that make this a movie worth watching. For the older generation who lived through this event, the adapted story will most likely be nostalgic, especially the riots and new clips of incidents. Drama lovers will get their fill as well, as just about every group in this movie has some type of issue or struggle they have to overcome. As for suspense, well that really doesn’t come till about the final thirty minutes of the movie, but once it arrives you may find yourself at the edge of your seat, (unless you remember the reality of the situation). People who enjoy making fun of countless systems will also be entertained by this film. As stated earlier, Goodman and Arkin’s characters basically throw Hollywood under the bus, from getting contracts to designing a fake story. Those who love seeing government agencies getting shot down and made fun of, are also going to enjoy this film as well. While it’s not like a typical comedy where the actors say lines that are targeted at the government, Argo instead uses the setting to make fun of it. When Affleck demands action, the big wigs instead say they have a meeting scheduled or say that’s not allowed. The writers also threw a couple of quick dialog jabs in there to help bring some diversity to the humor, which also brought on some laughs. Of course those that are easily offended by such humor, or greatly support our political system’s endeavors are going to be less amused. I’ll also take this time to say that those who don’t like seeing humans painted as monsters/animals are going to be angry at this movie as well. The combination of camera work and acting show the darker side of humans, and I’m sure there will be news stories of people offended by the portrayal of both Americans and Iranians. The only big error I can mention on this movie is that some editing could have been done about halfway through to make the movie a little shorter.
Needless to say I enjoyed Argo a lot, and encourage you to see this movie in theaters, or at least catch in on Netflix. My scores for this film are below
Movie Overall: 8.0