Thursday, May 2, 2013

Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012) Review

So it seems like it's 2012 catch up season. A lot of the films from last year are now available on DVD (or, at least, almost are) so I figured I might as well look at the Oscar winner for Best Film, Argo. I went into this film with little to no idea of what this was about. I took a dive so I guess the ultimate question is, did it truly deserve the Oscar for Best Film? Let's find out.

In 1979, the American Embassy in Iran is invaded by the locals and taken over. However, four Canadian citizens managed to escape in time but have no gone into hiding. Back in America, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a plan to resuce the hostages. He teams up with Hollywood regulars, John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkan), in order to make a fake film named Argo. The plan is to pose the hostages as film crew members and get them out of the country. Complications begin to arise as Tony will stop at nothing to see the plan go forward.

Good God, is the suspense in the film amazing. It's a result of the film being a breath of fresh air considering how little violence there is (why is it that every film now has to be violent?). The finale had me on the edge of my seat which may be because of the excellent writing. Oooh, so many compliments to give. The secondary cast members are excellent (although I can't look at Bryan Cranston and not see Walter White) with the best of the bunch being Alan Arkin due to how delightfully witty he is ("Argo f**k yourself" has got to be one of the best new movie lines, surely).

The only problem I find is that Ben Affleck, to being with, is pretty bland. I liked him by the end but we doesn't do a very good job of bringing me in. That, and this is an example of Hollywood taking a real life event and glorifying itself just like Pearl Harbour did but at least it's much more subtle than that abomination.  If you can get past the glorification of America (technically it was Canada that got the praise...) and Ben Affleck being a bit bland then you'll reach the really good stuff.

Argo was not the best film of 2012 in my opinion (Skyfall, step forward) but I can definitely see why the Academy made it so. The writing is pretty damn good which leads to one hell of a suspenseful climax. The film is topped off by some excellent acting (for the most part) and some good humour mixed with the serious nature of the film. Do yourself a favour and watch this film at some point.

Some excellent writing topped off with memorable acting and a truly suspenseful climax.

Also check out where Argo landed itself on my top ten films of 2012 list HERE!

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