The start of Argo is a great recap of American middle east policy. We disposed of Iran’s democratically elected leader when he decided he wanted to nationalize the oil industry, and the guy we put in was less than liked by the population, leading to a revolting coup. The opening scenes of the mob storming of the embassy are chilling to say the least.
As a political thriller, Argo is a very crisp story with a simple concept. Get the 6 Americans who escaped the embassy out of Iran. For having such simplicity, Argo is intensely entertaining, building up huge anticipation right until the very end. The hostages, as well as Ben Affleck’s Tony Mendez are given strong emotional attachments throughout the film, giving the audience a reason to actually care if they fail. The Hollywood culture has light shed all over it into the inner workings of the industry and the production of film (even fake ones). Aside from the thrilling story, there is a surprising amount of well delivered humor, with the funniest moments in the film coming from Alan Arkin and John Goodman who play the Hollywood producers. Bryan Cranston is also a huge boost to the cast, delivering subtle jokes throughout his role. Being able to pull off the captivating story and humor seamlessly is what gives the film such high praise.
Although the movie is very good, there are a few faults that I think take it down a few notches. First, though based on a true story, the movie adds a considerably more drama than is needed because it is a film. The actual escape went very smooth at the airport, while the film obviously has to make that the climax. It’s not much, but what makes the Argo so impressive at first glance is the audience’s perception that everything on the screen actually happened. Saying that though, historical events are difficult to capture perfectly into the movie setting, and its great to see a mostly non-fiction historical drama making such a splash in theaters.
The second flaw is nothing that can be helped. Yes, Argo is a fantastic film. But the story is set up in such a way that I don’t see much point to seeing the film more than once or twice. Except for the humor maybe, knowing the ending defeats the anticipation and excitement in additional viewing. It’s kind of like trying to watch National Treasure more than once. These problems happen with movies that aren’t tied to heavy moral or intellectual roots. But I wouldn’t hold that against Argo as deeply I would other movies. Argo is a fresh one of a kind film. I strongly recommend it.
I give it a 9.1/10