Cert: 15 Running Time: 120 minutes November 4, 1979. Tony Mendez comes to the rescue to extract six fugitive American diplomatic empolyees out of Iran before they are discovered by the Revolutionary Guards. In order to do this, they create a fake movie called Argo, and pretend that they’re the crew. Sounds easy enough right? If I’m [...]
Cert: 15 Running Time: 120 minutes
November 4, 1979. Tony Mendez comes to the rescue to extract six fugitive American diplomatic empolyees out of Iran before they are discovered by the Revolutionary Guards. In order to do this, they create a fake movie called Argo, and pretend that they’re the crew. Sounds easy enough right?
If I’m going to make a fake movie, it’s going to be a fake hit.
If I could describe Argo in one word, it would be tense. Throughout the entire film I was on the edge of my seat. Argo was something I didn’t have much interest in seeing, and yet it stands as the biggest surprise of any film released in 2012. Although the historical events interpreted in Argo for rescuing six embassy employees from Iran during the 444 day hostage may not have happened just as writer Chris Terrio and director Ben Affleck portrayed it. Argo is still a fantastic film and is better than any other thriller of its kind from 2012.
Argo is set in Iran during 1979, a time when the US embassy in Tehran was seized by a mob of Iranian yobs. Six American staff members managed to steak out and became refugees in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Tom Mendez, whose job description includes ‘extracting’ Americans out of dangerous environments comes to the rescue, but it isn’t all that simple.
Like his previous film The Town, Affleck crafts Argo with heist film aspects, setting up the situation, the game play, followed by its final conclusion, only for surprises to be kept to a minimum, but still having paced this with distress so high, you’ll find your heart bursting out of your chest as the film moves along at high speed. Argo is based on declassified material, obviously some elements of the film have been changed to spice up the plot, so it worked on the entertainment side and not for a proper history lesson.
Argo has a tasteful 70′s style to it that feels as if we are taken right back to that era of filmmaking, with the creative sets, photography and costume. It’s hard not to praise the way the film was edited and shot. Evoking the very best out of Chris Terrio’s layered screenplay, Ben Affleck does an incredible job at emphasising the tension of the situation. His balance between the comedic and dramatic aspects is an instant highlight as these two things manage to flow together smoothly without feeling disconnected from each other. The editing by William Goldenberg is phenomenal; he does an excellent job of keeping the film’s pace fluid and entertaining.
The cast is greatly varied and superb. There isn’t a standout performance amongst the six hostages, but neither is there a character that shines and takes the limelight. They form a distressed ensemble careering towards what is right and wrong whilst bickering like children who are being forced into deeds they have no say over. Alan Arkin is the light but cutting comic relief in the film with John Goodman beside him. Both actors were able to bring the right amount of playfulness and humour to a serious movie. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck brought the drama to the movie as the man sent to rescue the American hostages. And finally we have the actors for the six Americans that hid in the Canadian embassy, who all displayed an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts. A honourable mention goes out to Bryan Cranston as Mendez’s colleague in the CIA (it’s always nice to see him outside of TV). As for Affleck himself, he delivers an easy performance playing a character that you instantly root for. You want him to save the Americans from Iran, and for him to work things out with his family.
In conclusion, Argo is entertaining, interesting and one hell of a ride. Affleck’s style of bringing tension is the smart formula of the film and makes his mark as a fantastic filmmaker. Undeniably spectacular and smart, Argo is not to be missed.