February 15, 2013
Road To The Oscars – Movie Review: Argo
I will be reviewing all the movies nominated for Best Picture at the upcoming 2013 Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, 2013; ultimately leading to my predictions on which film will win this prestigious award.
Argo is one of the three fact based American history movies this year (Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln) that have made their way to the Oscars, all being nominated for several awards including, best picture. Argo is the story of the Iran hostage crisis that began on November 4, 1979, when Iranian militants bombarded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 American hostages.
Six Americans escaped the embassy before they were abducted, and found refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. Enter CIA specialist Tony Mendez, portrayed brilliantly by Ben Affleck, who concocts a plan to save the six Americans that is so ridiculous, that it just may work. His idea is to create a bogus movie, posing as a producer pretending to scout locations in Tehran for said bogus movie, and then to get the six Americans out safely under the guise of a Hollywood crew.
Research shows that this part of the plan to get the Americans safely home has been greatly exaggerated, along with other aspects of the movie, like the suspenseful getaway climax. But that’s okay, because the bottom line of the true story stays intact, and this movie kicks ass!
Argo has been nominated for seven Oscars including, best picture, best adapted screenplay, and Alan Arkin landed himself a best supporting actor nomination. Ben Affleck was not nominated for best director, although he should have been.
This film is captivating and entertaining from the very first scene to the moment the screen fades to black. The directing style of Affleck for this project is perfect. The cinematography is a throwback to a suspenseful 70’s political thriller, back when they didn’t count on explosions every fifteen minutes to be the saving grace of a film, but on strong dialogue, storylines, and superb directing.
Filled with dramatic scenes, this picture moves at a swift pace while providing enough character development and background that we feel for the protagonists. Embedded between powerful dramatic sequences are the witty, and downright hilarious, performances of Alan Arkin and John Goodman; whose chemistry onscreen is radiant! These scenes of comic relief help breakup the dramatic scenes while keeping the movie fresh. It also gives a pleasant feeling to the film providing the audience with a “feel-good” emotion in this part of our history, which is sometimes difficult to do.
I liked this movie because of the acting, the directing, the cinematography, the humor, the drama and, most of all, the reminder. This film serves as a great reminder for the brave heroes, hostages, and victims, of the Iran hostage crisis. It also has been a platform for the story of Tony Mendez, a true American hero, to be told. A man who used his time to save others lives while risking his.
Recently in a Good Morning America interview, Mendez was asked what he wanted the people most to know about this particular story, he replied; “It would be nice if we [CIA agents] were not portrayed as deranged assassins. The fact is, we are human beings, and we have families, and we go out to a job everyday like most people; and we prevail.”
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures