Next in our Best Picture Series is Argo. One of our Facebook fans asked for this review back in September. Sorry for the delay Felicity, but here you go!
I wasn't even born when these events began, In fact I think my birthday newspaper cover story had to do with the hostage crisis. Luckily the film starts us with a brief history on Iran. It is very informative. To tweak a quote from Wreck-It Ralph, Just because we were the good guys, doesn't mean that we were good guys. The US started a coup to depose the current Shah and install our own. Turns out the person who was put in was not that greatest person.
I was also amazed at how relevant this film was to our time with the recent attacks on our foreign embassies. In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries. In the opening elements of the film we are in a besieged US Embassy surrounded by an angry mob. It is very intense. As enemy forces climb the walls and break the gate, the armed forces assigned to defend the Embassy they cannot fire on the attackers. As a result the whole embassy is overrun and all inside are taken hostage.
However, six managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) devised a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew.
Argo does a great job making you feel like you are watching a movies from 1979. The the costuming, hair styles, and technology used really makes you feel immersed. They even used the old Warner Bros. logo to open the movie. As well everyone is smoking, in every area it is illegal now. It was so odd to see characters smoking on an airplane, in restaurants, and office buildings.
To make his plan work Mendez goes to his contacts in Hollywood for help to make this happen. Alan Arkin and John Goodman are fantastic in this. It really ads a more lighthearted tone to a movie that has a lot of suspense and turmoil.
The film is very well put together. Some of the characters are not very fleshed out though. I really had no overwhelming feelings for the 6 escapees individually, but more because they are Americans trapped in a foreign land. They seems to bicker and complain the whole time and don't show many redeeming qualities. Affleck does do a great job directing and it feels like he was snubbed for the Best Director Nomination. He has been nominated and often won at almost every other award ceremony for best Director. Perhaps if he hadn't also starred in the movie they would have been more accepting. I know I sometimes feel that is presumptuous.
Argo has some violent content, an angry mob storms the embassy and holds hostages at gunpoint, there is a wide shot of a man is shot by rebels in the street, but I would not say it is a violent movie. There is also no sexual content, except for two revealing sci-fi costumes as a press event for the fake movie. The characters smoke a lot, and there is some drinking. What pushed Argo to the R Rating is the frequent use of the F-Word. I think about 25 of them. So if that sort of language offends you, a ClearPlayer would make this movie a four star rating for sure!