Sunday, October 28, 2012


Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin 
& John Goodman
Released: 2012
Runtime: 120 minutes
Rating: 4.5/5

Ben Affleck’s third and most ambitious feature as director is a dramatization of the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. The rescue mission itself is lead by CIA Intelligence Operative Tony Mendez portrayed by Affleck who plans to get the diplomats out under the guise of a Canadian film scouting locations for a fake film called Argo.

The more I heard about Argo the more I wanted to see it. I’m a real sucker for these big Hollywood dramatizations of true events and coincidently I was actually reading about the Iran hostage crisis on Wikipedia not knowing that there is now a film based on it. So yesterday morning I headed down to my local cinema for the first screening of the day; I always pick the odd times to avoid the crowds. I bought a choc-top at the snack bar and prepared to experience Argo.

So what did I think and does it live up to all the hype it’s been getting? Well I thought it was excellent and yes it does. It was so intense; there is constant tension throughout almost the whole film. The opening scene was down right frightening, it turns your stomach. And the documentary style makes it feel all that more real. But that constant tension is relieved numerous times very effectively by well timed moments of humour, which is a real credit to Affleck’s directing. And in regards to his directing, what I admired most about this film is that it isn’t bias towards any one of the nations involved. It would have been very easy to portray the people of Iran as the ‘bad guys’ but you’re given such a clear understanding as to why they’re so angry, to the point where to begin to sympathise.

A big surprise for me is that this incredible true story has as a pretty solid connection to my all time favourite film, Planet of the Apes. The connection being that of make-up effects artist John Chambers (John Goodman) who won an Oscar for his work on the film and had previously crafted disguises for the CIA. Chambers along with Hollywood producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) assist in making the film Argo appear credible should it be called into question.

Performances are solid from a stellar cast; Bryan Cranston as Mendez’s supervisor who I’ve yet to see a bad performance from, John Goodman and Alan Arkin who both provide a lot of the humorous element and of course Ben Affleck who has never really been regarded as the best action in the world but in this case he absolutely nails it.

I thought Argo was brilliant; Affleck’s direction is flawless and I think it’s his best film to date by a mile. It’s an unbiased portrayal of a horrendous situation that will have on the edge of your seat. I’m sure you’ll utter a great sigh of relief at the film’s climax, I know I certainly did. Now as for the Oscar hype, I’m not really one for making that kind of prediction but I will say that it’s more than likely. 

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