Monday, April 8, 2013

Argo Review

Argo Review
Director: Ben Affleck

Cast Headliners: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman

Original Release Date: October 12, 2012

Seen: April 2013

This movie was the so called best of 2012 by the critics and the Oscar academy. I think I agree.  This right here, this Argo, is how you make a quality political history movie. Argo paints itself to be an epic from the start with a comic book like segment talking of the history of the Persian Empire, which led to Iran. This is where the 1979 Hostage Crisis occurred, which unfolds in the wonderfully intense beginning of the film showing the fall of the US Embassy in Tehran.  It’s a sign of quality when a film makes a segment without the main protagonist tense and exciting to watch.  There are people who escaped this uprising luckily, and they were Robert Anders (Tate Donovan), Cora Amburn-Lijek (Clea DuVall), Mark Lijek (Christopher Denham), Joseph Stafford (Scoot McNairy), Kathleen Stafford (Kerry Bishé), and Lee Schatz (Rory Cochrane).  All of them do a fine job portraying victims hiding in an oppressive state, and as scene in the end credits or comparing photographs, they look just like the real people.
To remedy this, Tony Mendez (played by actor Ben Affleck who is also directing this film) must pitch a plan to save the hostages. Affleck does a great job as Tony, delivering eloquent dialogue and charm. The direction also showcases Affleck’s stark realistic style.  Tony’s plan, after seeing Battle of the Planet of the Apes, is to make a fake film called “Argo” using Iran as a location ala Star Wars using Africa. The film has a slight humorous side, when Tony enlists the help of eccentric makeup artist and costumer John Chambers (played by John Goodman in classic form) and director Lester Siegel (the wonderful Alan Arkin).  This gives the movie an intriguing mish-mash of Hollywood stereotypes and Middle Eastern action. 
Hollywood may have been laughs, but Tony’s quest to help the hostages in Tehran is very bleak. Any moment he could be killed, as could those he’s trying to save.  The editing and music is spot on in helping to illustrate their escape.  Watching Argo is very much like being there with the characters, never knowing what is going to come next.  It is a very exciting and entertaining time.
            The cast is expansive and likeable, the directing and production fantastic, and the plot greatly written. This is movie that is not to be missed, and really inspires honor for the real people who made it out of Iran in 1979.  There are not many flaws; perhaps just that it is not perfect.  Sometimes, I felt it dragged on.  Also the hostages were not given very much characterization. Compared to Tony and John Chambers and Siegel and Tony’s CIA support, the hostages felt in some ways like nobodies.  Regardless, Argo gives them respect . Argo is a fantastic movie which will truly leave you on the edge of your seat. It would definitely be in my top 5 from last year even if not number 1. 8.75 out of 10

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