ARGO – Movie Review

The Stats:

Director: Ben Affleck
Produced by: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
Genre: Historical / Drama / Thriller
Release Date: October 12th, 2012
Rating: R for language and some violent images

The Summary:

Argo focuses on the story of a tense time in American history, the Iran Hostage Crisis.  When an angry group of revolutionaries storm the American embassy on November 4th, 1979, only 6 of the original 58 Americans escape.  These 6 run to the Canadian ambassadors house, but they can only hide for so long. As enemies close in on all sides, what was already an explosive situation has just had it’s fuse lit.  With no options left, the CIA turns to their best exfiltration operative, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) for help.

The Review:

As the credits rolled down the screen, I was filled with satisfaction.  Argo had truly lived up to my expectations of the best picture of the year, and a large part of that was due to the degree of realism, the fantastic script, and, of course, the intense acting.

ARGO is completely based off fact.  The story of the Iran Hostage Crisis is, by this point, no secret.  Many people still remember the yellow ribbons from this time period, so trying to represent the emotional level, trying to capture the feeling that resounded through America during such a tense time, must have been difficult. And yet, Affleck pulled it off astoundingly well, managing to get ahold of this reality and project it onto the silver screen.  Before I watched ARGO, I did just a little bit of research on the film.  Much of what I could find discredited the realism of the film, pointing out details and points that occured in the movie. I went in to the film expecting it to be your standard movie, with maybe the occasional fact thrown in there, but for the most part, a lot of Hollywood.  The critics weren’t wrong: Ben Affleck had added much and more to his film.  All the close calls, the suspicions, even the plan itself…they were all birthed or modified by Affleck.  But the thing is, I didn’t even notice these things while I watched ARGO: I focused on what hadn’t been altered.  I saw a man hanging from a crane, long dead.  I saw Iranian officials shoot an old man for trying to ask a question.  I saw the fear, the tension, in the eyes of the hostages.  I saw the past.  Ben Affleck created a portal to the Iran Hostage Crisis in ARGO, giving those born long after the tensions of the time had past a chance to glimpse the anger, the fear, of the era.  Everything, right down to the actors, was intended to mimic the people, the sets, the world of the Iran Hostage Crisis.  Reality is a harsh thing, and ARGO makes no attempt to mask that. It doesn’t show you heroes, or true love, or cliched villains.  It shows you the truth.

Another thing I absolutely loved about ARGO was the sublime script.  Screenwriter Chris Terrio must have been hit with a stroke of greatness when he wrote this script, because it could come from nothing less than either pure genius or complete insanity.  ARGO jumps from hilarious to tense in under a minute, leaving you blindsided and unprepared for the darkness that is sure to follow.  The script, already extremely suspenseful, is made even more so by the fantastic score.  Even in light hearted moments, you can’t forget the darkness lurking behind the facade of Hollywood lights and jokes, and that’s in large part due to the music behind the words. However, the best thing about the script was not the score, or the transitions. It was the flow of it. Some movies have difficulty making lines seem natural, but ARGO is not one of them. Reinforced by the superb acting, ARGO’s script creates scenes that run just as real conversations do. ARGO’s script leaves you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, drawing you in more and more…and all without a single action scene in it.

Last, and in some ways, most importantly, was the excellent acting. In my opinion, acting is the one thing that can make or break a movie, and ARGO’s cast was truly amazing, bringing to life the grey world of Hollywood in the 70’s and 80’s.  From the acting of Ben Affleck to the random Iranian officials, ARGO boasted one of the finest casts I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few movies.  The wonderful actors in ARGO represented the people of the Iran Hostage Crisis to the letter, from their appearance to their lines.  During the credits of ARGO, it compares the real life ambassadors in the Iran Hostage Crisis to the amazing actors playing them in ARGO , and the similarity is staggering.  The acting in ARGO was truly wonderful, and it certainly made the movie a great of its time.

Final Closing Thoughts:

ARGO was a wonderful film.  It had everything that a movie ought to have, with excellent acting, a superb script, and the exact right degree of realism.  That’s not to say that it’s the best movie of all time, but it certainly makes my top ten list.  It’s for these reasons that I give ARGO a 10 out of 10, simply because there was absolutely nothing that I didn’t love about it.  It was a great movie, and one that I recommend greatly, especially if  you can yourself remember the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis.  You won’t regret it.

If you want to see m pre-movie review, go to my glog here:

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