With Argo, Ben Affleck shows an incredible ability to build tension and tell a story in a compelling way. Argo was well made, well-thought out, and just an overall marvelous film.

Argo

Starring: Ben Affleck, Allan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Kyle Chandler, Bryan Cranston, Tate Donovan, Clea Duvall, Scott McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishop

Premise: In 1979, 52 American’s were taken hostage in from the U.S. Embassay in Iran. Admist the chaos of the revolution, six Americans managed to escape and find refuge at the home of the Canadian Ambassador. Based on true events, Argo follows Tony Mendez, a CIA extraction specialist, who concocts a plan based around a fake movie to help them escape being found and killed.

My Review: Already this year has been an incredible year for great movies. Even now, I can think of 5 movies that are better than most of last year’s nominations and we haven’t even seen the movies that are yet to come (Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Linclon, Wreck It Ralph, etc). Argo is one of those movies that deserve to be nominated. It doesn’t have gimmicks, high special effects, drug use, racial issues, physical turmoil, fancy prosthetic make-up, or tricks of any sort. Instead, it is a movie that goes deep into your psyche and it lets you laugh even though it is mostly from uneasiness. It’s a movie that leaves you a bit dizzy, mostly because you forgot you were holding your breath through the intense scenes. It’s just a good movie – a movie I’d watch again and again.

I’ve never been all that fond of Ben Affleck’s work. Dogma, Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, The Town, those are pretty much the only movies I’ve liked of his as an actor. As for Gone Baby Gone and The Town (his two other directing credits), Argo far surpasses them all. Affleck was able to create characters we care about and root for all the while building very an incredible amount of tension. This was a dangerous situation and even through the humor that was always in the back of each character’s minds. MVP awards go to Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who played Lester Siegel and John Chambers respectively. They provided the lighter parts to the otherwise pressure driven premise. Both of these guys are just so good. Their humor is genuine even if the “Hollywood” of it all is not. Also great in this movie, Victor Garber who played the Canadian Ambassador and the six actors that played the hostages (Tate Donovan, Clea Duvall, Scott McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, and Kerry Bishop). The urgency and the “reality” of the situation were displayed all over their faces. They all just worked very well together. The only one who seemed out of place was Ben Affleck, whose character probably could have been played by anyone. Affleck was very good in the role, but his portrayal of Tony Mendez lacked authority. And if you’re trying to convince a group of high-level, government officials to let you proceed with a preposterous plan, you’re going to need a hell of a lot of authority, or at least a bigger boat. Also, he’s not Hispanic, but that’s a detail I’ll let slide.

Overall this movie was well-directed, well-acted, and well-told. (Yes, I know my use of the English language is appalling!). It’s definitely an ensemble piece that deserves to be recognized come Oscar Season. Watch Argo if you like those “based on true event”, edge of your seat drama/thrillers (and really, who doesn’t like those?).

 

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. Not the most perfect movie I’ve seen this year, but is still an entertaining flick about a top-secret mission nobody ever knew about. Sadly, we all know how it ends and that’s what kind of sucks all of the energy out of this flick in the long-run.

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