Saturday, February 9, 2013

Argo Review
                Released last November and being a successful film since, Argo has impressed audiences everywhere.  Ben Affleck’s latest film is based on the true story of a rescue mission to Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.  Six Americans are stuck in the Canadian embassy, and there is no way out.  Or so it seems.  Produced by Affleck and the versatile actor/director/screenwriter George Clooney, there is little room for error as the result is extraordinary.

                The dramatization of Tony Mendez’s-the actual CIA specialist called in for the mission-article “Canadian Caper”  (2007) follows Mendez, portrayed by Affleck, as he is called in as a consultant to rescue the six Americans stuck in Tehran, hiding in the Canadian embassy.  His CIA supervisor Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) meet with a committee and brainstorm ways to rescue the six.  Close to losing hope, Mendez comes up with a plan to stage filming a movie and using the hostages as his film crew.

Mendez enlists John Chambers, a Hollywood make-up artist with CIA connections (John Goodman) and film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to assist him, in order to make everything more legit.  Mendez travel s to Iran posing as a producer and asks for permission to film certain parts of Tehran.  Shortly after, when meeting up with the six hostages at the Canadian embassy, he presents them with his plan to get them out safely and swiftly.

                However, not all plans are perfect and as things complicate for Mendez much quicker than anticipated and risk runs high for these brave Americans. 

                The elaborate scheme is so crazy that it could just work, as Mendez dives into Hollywood connections, the CIA’s big to-do checklists, the Canadian embassy, ultimately risking his life to save the six hostages hiding in Tehran. 

                Like a tide, the suspense was on a constant ebb-and-flow.  Keeping the audience on their toes, just when you thought everything was safe, something new presented itself as an obstacle, and vice-versa.  Affleck and his brilliant cast had a wonderful performance.  Arkin is currently up for the Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role.”  His one-liners offered appropriate comic relief for such an intense film. 

                Affleck shined as a director.  He was very innovative and particular when looking to create the feel of the 1980’s quality of film.  He increased the graininess by shooting on regular film, cutting frames in half, and then blew them up two hundred percent.  Affleck also copied camera movements from older films of similar genres.  In accordance to the “Canadian Caper,” the film Argo is very historically accurate and keeps up with nuances such as the cinematography, along with costuming for the 1980 style. 

                Argo received two Golden Globe awards, taking home “Best Picture-Drama” and “Best Director” this January.  It received seven nominations from the Academy this year, including “Best Picture” and “Best Adapted Screenplay.” However, Affleck was not nominated for “Best Director,” which is a shame, considering he won the (well-deserved) Golden Globe for it. 

                This film is beyond excellent; fans of Affleck-as a director or an actor-should go see it.  It was very much so worth the obscene theater ticket price. 

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