Argo is a lovingly crafted movie that speaks volumes of the maturation of Ben Affleck as both a director and an actor. The movie superbly executes tense and exciting scenes with performances to back them up. Together the cast works extremely well together to create a heartfelt and tense movie. Although the subplots leave something to be desired, Argo delivers a thrilling ride for the audience that is informative as it is entertaining.
Two years ago I ended up going to see The Town on a whim. I had heard good things but I was going in blind in regards to the cast and crew. I ended up loving the movie and was surprised to find that Ben Affleck directed it. I now know that he has directed three in all, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Although I haven’t seen Gone Baby Gone, I will definitely make it a high priority after checking out his latest flick, Argo.
Argo is about the rescue of the six hostages that escaped from the U.S. Embassy during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The CIA conducts a mission to secretly recover the six refugees by creating a fake movie in hopes that it’ll provide cover to get them out.
The cast as well as their portrayal of their real life counter parts was fantastic. The most enjoyable were John Goodman as John Chambers, and Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel. The two play off each other extremely well and owned every scene they were in. They were both lively and humorous together and even during tense scenes they were able to ease the tension. The banter between Arkin/Siegel and Goodman/Chambers created entertaining scenes with extremely memorable lines. In particular, Arkin was brash, witty, and deeply earnest, which lead to him being my favorite character.
Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Tony Mendez was fantastic as well. Stoic, and calculated, he remained calm in his scenes even when things were hectic. There were subtle hints of panic when necessary but the calmness of his character allowed for the viewer to see the thought process of the man who knew his every move deeply affected the lives of six other people. Bryan Cranston of course was great as usual. I was glad to see he had a pretty major part in this movie and he deserved every minute of it. Those that have kept up with this site know that I’ve been a huge fan of Cranston as of late given my recent romp through Breaking Bad. Here Cranston is able to show off some of his emotional take charge personality much like with Breaking Bad, and he continues to deliver the same level of excellence.
My biggest complaint is the lack of developed subplots. First is the life of the six refugees while they were hiding out. We’re given glimpses of them in the Canadian Ambassador’s house but I would have loved to see them characterized more. Although the actors played their parts well, I didn’t feel like I really got to know who any of them were, and often times had trouble differentiated the relationships among them. This definitely would have made a stronger emotional impact during intense scenes but we’re given enough and it doesn’t take away from the movie too much. The second subplot was Tony Mendez and his family. It’s mentioned that he’s taking a ‘break’ from his wife and kid. We get a few scenes here or there dedicated to this but I never feel like this plot was every fully fleshed out.
However, Argo is mainly about rescuing the six refugees and it manages to nail this plot down. Emotional, tense, and often humorous, Argo takes the viewers on a thrilling ride. Set among a backdrop of fully detailed sets, as well as great wardrobes, the whole late 70’s early 80’s feel was easily communicated on screen. This added to the realism of the movie and makes the ride easy to be invested in. Although it’s only based on a true story, they added in footage from the late 70’s as well as factoids before and after the movie to set up the tone and feel. The movie is both informative as it is entertaining. The coolest part of all was the side-by-side comparisons of the actors and their real life counter parts during the credits. This movie was crafted with love and it definitely shows in the end, solidifying Argo, as a must see movie.
Argo is a lovingly crafted movie that speaks volumes of the maturation of Ben Affleck as both a director and an actor. The movie superbly executes tense and emotional scenes with performances to back them up. Together the cast works extremely well together to create a heartfelt and suspenseful movie. Although the subplots leave something to be desired, Argo delivers a thrilling ride for the audience that is informative as it is entertaining.
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