What We ThoughtGenre: Biography, Drama, Thriller
What We Liked :Terrific acting, meticulous directing and captivating story.
What We Disliked:Forced dramatics for film.
If you must escape your house to see Argo, do so. It’s one of the finer films of the year.
Is Ben Affleck’s new film Argo a sure fire Oscar Nominee?
Ben Affleck’s Argo tells the true events of Tony Mendez’s historical rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. When the US embassy in Iran gets attacked the six diplomats are able to seek refuge, but to get out of Iran alive is another matter entirely. This is when the CIA decides to call in Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to come up with a plan of escape.
Mendez stumbles across a wild idea while watching Battle for the Planet of the Apes on TV with his son; create a cover operation that involves shooting a new science-fiction movie in Iran with a Canadian film crew. He get his supervisor Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) to sign off on the idea and with the help of Effects-Artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) they develop the fake film entitled Argo. With the movie in place, Mendez must convince the U.S. diplomats to play along with his plan and get them out of Iran alive.
Ben Affleck has moved away from his hometown of Boston that was the setting of his original two films and replaced with strife-ridden Iran. Obviously it wasn’t the city that was solely responsible for his talent because he shows a steady hand while chronicling the events of the Iranian hostage crisis. The exposition of Argo sets up the events beautifully and the complications between American and Iran are made steadfast. There isn’t much time for weaving a delicate tale, Argo immediately begins with the embassy under-sedge. A meticulous inter-cutting of archive footage and newly created footage give a heightened sense of realism and really beings the film on a strong foot.
Out of such a diverse collection of supporting roles in Argo there are going to be a few that stand out above the rest. Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel is terrific and seems to channel some of his Oscar winning performance from Little Miss Sunshine. He also has the benefit of being given one of the best lines in the entire film. I’d be highly surprised if another Best Supporting Actor nomination didn’t come his way. Out of the six U.S. hostages there are bound to be performances that ring a little more true than the others. I particular enjoyed Kerry Bishé (Sex and the City, Red State) as Kathy Stafford. She easily had the most emotional dissonance in the group and brought the terror home. Another strong sequence in the film features the diplomats and Tony Mendez driving through the rioting streets of Iran. Easily the scene where the suspense was at the breaking point and one of the many highlights of the entire picture.
Does Ben Affleck’s Argo have an Oscar nomination in its future? I’d emphatically say yes. While its obvious some liberties were taken to heighten the tension (the finale rang a little too dramatic), Argo is a fascinating account of the true events of Tony Mendez and the escape of six American diplomats during the Iranian hostage crisis. After three fantastic films, Ben Affleck has proven himself as a phenomenal director and highly capable actor. If you must escape your house to see Argo, do so. It’s one of the finer films of the year.