Film Review: Argo (2012)

My rating: ★★★★★

The movie was fake. The mission was real.

The movie worked. The mission accomplished.

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As we all know that majority of the films that are inspired by true events do not work properly, they don’t deliver that charm the audience hopes for. But this isn’t the case here. Directed by Ben Affleck and co-produced by Affleck, George Clooneyand Grant Heslov (known for producing the Academy Award nominated movie Good Night, and Good Luck), Argo is an excellent thriller and maybe one of the best films of 2012. Inspired by true events of 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis and the superb job done by Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to exfiltrate 6 escaped hostages hiding in Canadian ambassador’s house, this plot incorporates the inclusion of Hollywood to help accomplish the mission suggested by Mendez as they call it in the film their best bad idea. Not highlighting the extreme violence or the use of guns and grenades as we see in the thrillers mostly, this film maybe the prime example given to us that a thriller can be made without the incorporation of extreme violence. I really hope Ben Affleck gets an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, he has done the job quite well this time and has proved that not only he is a great actor, he is also an outstanding director (he previously directed Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010), both of them were outstanding movies).

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Supporting cast includes Bryan Cranston as Jack O’Donnell (Mendez’s supervisor at the CIA), Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel (A film producer) and John Chambers as John Goodman (A Hollywood make-up artist) and Victor Garber as Ken Taylor (Canadian ambassador), all of them deliver great performances especially Chambers and Arkin, their scenes have that slight incorporation of humor which keeps the plot on the right track and prevents it from losing audiences’ interest in the film which obviously means that the screenplay (by Chris Terrio) is well-written and kept to the point to avoid causing any boredom and increasing the running time of the movie.

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What’s good about this film is that how it stays at same pace throughout and goes in the right direction. We all know what is going to be the outcome of the entire storyline but Affleck’s direction still keeps us interested in the movie, especially in the climax which is shot at the airport as Mendez tries to catch the flight to get those 6 hostages out of Iran, and the intense moments caused by Iranian militants, which is worth watching.

Despite the historical inaccuracies, this movie is well-crafted and deserves appreciation because of being not-so-typical thriller. One thing that kept me wondering throughout the film was why did the Iranians not think that the arrival of film producer in the time of crisis is not linked to the hostage crisis itself? Well, maybe nobody did!

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