8 dic. 2012

My Review: Argo (9/10)

¨If I'm going to make a fake movie, it's going to be a fake hit. ¨

This is Ben Affleck`s third film as a director and he`s made yet another brilliant film. Not everyone may agree that he`s a good actor, but I think we can all agree that he`s one of the top directors of this century. His first film Gone Baby Gone was a huge success, and he followed that with an even greater hit: The Town. Both these films were set in Boston (Affleck`s home town), but now Ben went out of his comfort zone and directed a film set in Iran in the late 70`s. The general look of the film felt so real and authentic; it was as if Affleck transported us into the past and we were really there. The film has an authentic 70`s vibe that reminds us of other great films from that period. I had my doubts about Argo considering the subject matter. I didn’t think it would keep my attention for long, but I was wrong because Affleck was able to create so much tension and suspense that I was at the edge of my seat during most of the film. He also mixed that tension with some humor and movie industry satire. Arkin played a movie producer and Goodman an Oscar winning makeup artist; the scenes between both these actors were hilarious and they were on top of their game. Those scenes were probably among my favorite of the movie, I don’t know if I would`ve enjoyed the movie as much as I did if it weren’t for those two supporting actors. I still think Gone Baby Gone and The Town were both better films than Argo, but this will surely have more success with the Academy voters. Argo will be nominated for Best Picture and could be one of the favorites to win the Oscar.

The film is based on true events that occurred during 1979 while tension arose between the United States and Iran when Iranian revolutionaries invaded the American embassy in Iran and took several American hostages. Six American employees managed to secretly escape during the turmoil and found refugee in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. The CIA then plans a secret mission to try to take them out of the country before the Iranians realize that six of the employees from the Embassy are missing. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), a CIA exfiltration expert, comes up with a risky plan to bring them back home safely. He creates a fake Canadian film project and travels to Iran with the excuse that he is looking for locations to shoot his sci-fi film titled Argo claiming that Iran is the perfect spot. In order to make his plan believable the CIA begins to collaborate with some trusted Hollywood people: Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), a film producer, and John Chambers (John Goodman), a make-up artist. Together they prepare to produce the best fake movie Hollywood has ever made and has everyone in the industry fall for the lie. Meanwhile at the residence of Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), tension is beginning to rise as the revolutionaries are beginning to suspect that there might be some Americans hiding there. These Americans are Bob (Tate Donovan), Cora (Clea DuVall), Joe (Scoot McNairy), Lee (Rory Cochrane), Mark (Christopher Denham), and Kathy (Kerry Bishe). Tony Mendez provides them with Canadian passports and a fake identity and has them each passing for crew members of the film he`s producing. Bryan Cranston plays Affleck`s supervisor in the CIA who gives him the green light for the highly risky mission.

Saying that Argo is based on a true story doesn’t mean that everything that happened in this film was real. Of course you have several things that were made up in order to build up the tension. This isn’t a documentary and if you want to read about the real story there is plenty of information about what happened in Iran. The film is based on the article written by Joshua Bearman and the screenplay adapted by Chris Terrio. People familiar with the story already know the outcome, but Affleck is able to maintain the suspense and tension nonetheless. His real success here was the way in which he was able to recreate several scenes in such a believable fashion. The amount of attention he put into small technical details can be seen during the end credits where we have pictures of the real events along with the scenes from the film. Affleck also took a huge risk by mixing movie industry satire with suspense and tension, but it paid off really well and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. Argo is a truly satisfying film and without a doubt one of the best films of the year thanks to the technical aspects of the film, a strong performance from the cast, and the thrilling storytelling all supported by the great direction of Ben Affleck.  

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