Movie Review: Argo
Studio: Warner Bros., GK Films, Smokehouse Pictures
Release Date: October 12, 2012
“The movie was fake. The mission was real.” As the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point, a CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador.
Argo is absolutely incredible! If you’re on the fence about seeing this film, I hope this review will be the push you need to go see it. Director and star Ben Affleck takes you on an intense, pulse-racing, heart-pounding journey as we watch Tony Mendez (Affleck) extricate six Americans from a tumultuous Iran in 1980. If you’ve looked up any information about this film and the true story it’s based on, you know this was a deadly, serious situation for not only our country but Canada as well. The impeccable use of archival news footage makes the film that much more absorbing as you witness the chaos unfolding around the U.S. Embassy. Everything, from the clothing to hairstyles to eyewear, lends such an authenticity that you actually believe Affleck filmed this circa 1980. People were even smoking in buildings and on the plane, which is unheard of now.
The stellar acting—from both the well known to little known actors, including those portraying Iranians—will have you applauding, cheering, and gasping. All the actors become their real life counterparts—people whose lives were hanging on a delicate thread of hope or whose lives were at risk as they stood for what they believed in. The actors who play the six Americans will become household names quickly because of their tremendous performances. I hear Oscar buzz, for sure, as well as many other award nominations for this film, the cast, and especially the director.
You could feel the intensity as Tony tries to help the woebegone Americans who found refuge within Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor’s (Victor Garber) home. With only two days to memorize a fake resume, as well as script notes, these six people are not only feeling the pressure, they are scared for their lives. It’s a testament to their acting abilities and Affleck’s direction that each scene with these people is outstanding. When they must go through three rounds of check points just to get to the boarding gate at the airport, each scene is wrought with agonizing intensity. The theater I was in was filled with tension as we all watched the Iranian security guard check the credentials. I remember my hand being clasped in a fist, pressed close to my mouth as I waited with bated breath to see if they would make it through. I was very young during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, but recall seeing it on the news every night. And still, the images of death and destruction haven’t easily disappeared from memory. Argo brings to light the many sacrifices made by not only the real Tony Mendez and his support team, but also for Ken Taylor, his wife Pat (Page Leong), and their Iranian housekeeper Sahar (Sheila Vand).
While the film is filled with fervent drama, there is also a lighter side mixed in. John Goodman plays John Chambers, a Hollywood special effects pioneer, and Tony’s Hollywood connection. One of the great things about the film is how it pokes fun at the absurdities of the Hollywood filmmaking process. Alan Arkin plays the producer heavy for the fake film, Lester Siegel. Goodman and Arkin steal every scene they’re in. The chemistry between these two, combined with Affleck’s steadfast directing capabilities, really set the stage for great movie making. When your actors can’t pretend well, the movie sucks. If you aren’t able to immerse yourself in the character you’re playing and become that person – real or not – the movie suffers exponentially.
Funny and great lines:
White House Person (Phillip Baker Hall/uncredited): “You don’t have a better bad idea than this?”
Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston): “This is the best bad idea that we have, sir, by far.”
Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comments on Bates’ (Titus Welliver) and Pender’s (Zeljko Ivanek) bicycle idea: “Or you can just send in training wheels, then meet them at the border with Gatorade.”
Lester Siegel: “If I’m doing a fake movie, it’s gonna be a fake hit.”
Lester Siegel commenting to a reporter: “Argo-fuck yourself!”
Best damn film I’ve seen in a long time! If you like political drama/thrillers, this is a ‘need to see’ kind of film!
For more on the film, go to http://argothemovie.warnerbros.com/.
Follow Argo on Twitter @wbpictures #Argo.
Like Argo on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/argomovie.
Photos: © 2012 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.
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© 2012, www.yourentertainmentcorner.com. All rights reserved.
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