Argo (2012)

argoFirstly, I’m giving myself a great big hug for actually getting to the Oscar buzz movies before the Oscars are given out – something that I usually tend to do. That was a nice one, the hug I mean, anyways, important things first, Argo was in my highlights TOP 10 list of movies that I would definitely watch in 2013 and as you can see, it’s the first one I’m crossing off.

Argo’s original poster as it was created in the 1980- I’m not going to feature the 2012 Argo poster but it would have been amazing to see some similarities between those two. Somebody please create a minimal poster like this!

Argo is set around 1980, there is a revolution in Iran and that will be the problematic center of the movie as six American diplomats become fugitives. The problem is tackled by America and Canada as a common mission and one man, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), offers a solution to get them out through the help of a movie. Well, for a movie fan, this was definitely a very interesting plot build up and knowing that the story was actually in some what based on real events, I was all up for it.

Argo-Original-Poster

In the beginning we get the slow build up to the actual extraction, Mendez finds his people to support the movie, the producer Lester Siegel (Alan Larkin) and makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) . They will then buy a script named Argo and create all the necessary elements to make it as believable as possible. In the words of Siegel himself: “If I’m doing a fake movie, it’s going to be a fake hit!” – and that was Argo in the movie, a fake sci-fi hit to be made in Iran in order to get six American citizens out of the country safely.

The movie itself was two hours long and yet it felt shorter, the beginning yes, it was a bit slower in terms of events but it was all very well tied up with a very fast end game. In a way, it was well balanced and it showed that things do take time to plan but the execution will be very quick. So, when it comes to the flow of the movie, Argo was nicely put together and I do want to applaud the ending not verging on the edge of being a cliché. There were so many moments when I though, now the montage is going to cut into them being already safe or something like that – but it turned out to be very time-logical, especially in the end when logic was very much the key element. That means a lot for movies, especially in the thrilling scenes such as the final scenes in the Iranian airport and I’m guessing Affleck had a good vision about that particular part of the movie.

Oh, Ben Affleck, he is great isn’t he? I mean, bloggers don’t talk about him that much, nor does he seem to be campaigning a lot or am I just ignorantly blind? Anyway, despite his some minor mistakes, with Gigli and Daredevil which is Lopez’ fault, Affleck is growing into being a very established actor and a director. Not that he wasn’t a good actor before, sure, but he has had three very successful movies which he has directed – that’s three out of three movies that all have high IMDb scores and two nabbed an Oscar nomination, where as Argo will probably get more than just one. He’s the one to watch, in a long run and I’m definitely keeping my eyes on his directing!

Now a bit of the negative, which I do try to seek out even from the best of the best – these things usually tend to be personal and extremely subjective. For instance, what I did dislike about Argo, but just slightly, were the six American diplomats but I guess it all was due to the movie not focusing on them as much. When it did, I felt a bit disconnected from them or I might have wanted more out of them. Oh well, let’s just say it, the six weren’t the most interesting ones to watch and the movie was stolen by Affleck himself with the help of his stronger counterparts like Larkin, Goodman and the always amazing Bryan Cranston. Also, there were some characters in Argo that I saw no reason to be there, as if they weren’t really among the center story. Hence, instead of the “empty roles” giving more time to the diplomats might have given them a better chance to appeal to me personally but this is just picking on things that one can’t really fault upon the movie itself.

To finish off, Argo is the kind of movie I would recommend for my mom to watch and that says a lot about a movie being Oscar worthy. My mom has that kind of a refined taste in movies, or what would you call it, an award-like-appetite. For instance, when the choice would be either Avatar or The Hurt Locker, she would give the Oscar to The Hurt Locker – despite the fact that both of us thought it was a bit too boring. That being said, Argo, although it could have gone to the boredom side, did a lovely job of staying in the balanced place of excitement and then hitting the nerve over and over again in the end. That was the key of the movie, the epic end game that brought it home, literally! If not for that and its very timely placed scenes and thrilling cut-offs to the airport security/military and then into the plane itself, Argo might have not been as awesome as it was.

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17 thoughts on “Argo (2012)”

  1. I’ve been meaning to see this one for quite a while now – I may have to wait for the DVD release but I’ll certainly get hold of it somehow. Nice review by the way 🙂

  2. Honestly, this may be one of my favorite movies of the year. I just thought it was really well executed, and was so suspenseful that it knocked my anxiety into full swing. Not to mention that Arkin, Cranston and Goodman were such an incredible trio of supporting actors…they kind of stole the movie for me.

    I’m also hearing a lot of sources saying Argo > ZD30. So this should be interesting to see once the latter gets wide release.

    1. Yeah, planning to see ZD30 soon as well though, I disliked The Hurt Locker so Bigelow isn’t in my list of “wow” directors .. But who knows.

  3. Good review Ray. Definitely seems like a flick that more people admire for being a really good, true story, rather than being a really good movie. It’s not a bad flick by any means, but not as perfect as many people are praising it as being.

  4. Hi Mettal!!

    Argo was my favorite movie of 2012. I love that Ben has established himself as one of the best directors in the industry right now, and I’m even happier that he’s found a director that best utilizes his capabilities; who cares if it’s himself.

    While I understand what you say about not having much of an attachment to the diplomats, I think the attachment lay in the fact that their lives were at risk in a country that was not their own. It’s amazing when you are aware of the outcome of something, and yet you still find yourself gripping your seat during an intense sequence.

    As always, great review Mettal!

    1. Yeah, they felt disconnected but for instance the scenes with the husband and the wives, I don’t know.. maybe more close-ups could have brought them closer to me but maybe the distance from them was intentional. To make it less human, to make it like war and terror is, inhumane and all that. Who knows.. But I love Ben!

  5. Definitely agree about the movie not focusing on the diplomats enough. It’s like it was less about the issues and event and more about just showing ‘them’. Ben did portray everything in an entertaining way. And that was my conclusion of the movie; an entertaining political/war thriller > a captivating political/war story.

    Read an article about why Argo overtook Zero Dark Thirty in the mainstream and media popularity. It was equally because of people’s views about torture / water boarding and also how the producers of Argo really put the spot light on it and campaigned for it (Academy etc). I didn’t think either were exceptional on different levels. In terms of direction: Town > Argo; Hurt Locker > Zero Dark Thirty.

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