Text Review of “ Argo”

The movie “Argo” is loosely based on the events of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The movie opens with the main event of the Iran hostage crisis which is the taking of the U.S. embassy. But quickly branches off into a side event in which 6 embassy employees are hiding out at the residence of the Canadian ambassador. The movie is about the attempt to fly these people out of Iran as members of a Canadian film location scouting team.

The best thing about the movie is the contextual atmosphere conveyed in the movie. You feel the intensity of the situation in 1979. You feel the anger, rage and fear on the streets of  Iran and in the U.S. The director Ben Affleck who also stars as the main protagonist is successful in transporting the audience to 1979 with images that are recreations of the media footage of the time. He even goes to the length of doing a side by side comparison between movie footage and actual footage during the end credits. As a result, the movie feels really like an old fashion movie made during the 80s.
This is on the one hand a great thing. The problem is that the script also feels as if it was written during the same time as the imagery recreations are based on. The 80s. The script lacks the  sophisticated plot devices that we as an audience have become accustomed to  from modern caper movies .
The movie shows you the context of the event but does not show actual substance regarding either the characters or the rescue caper/plan.  At its core, the move is a caper movie which should have elaborate preparations for the plan and character moments in the second act. These details build tension and make the audience care about the successful implementation of the plan and ultimately whether the characters live or die.
The actual caper element in the movie is just a back drop. There is no real plan other than setting up a fake movie to create believable credentials for the 6 embassy employees to get on a plan. The only thing that creates tension with the fake movie is that the Ben Affleck’s character/CIA only has a few days to set up the movie cover. This dependence on time is the common element in the movie.  Most of the tension of the plot is purely based on timing events. Does a person pick up the phone in time?  Or does the person open the door in time? If compared to a Horror movie, this movie would be a horror movie that is dependent totally  on jump scares. A one trick pony!!.
The good thing about the movie is that it is a damn decent one trick pony!! As a director, Ben Affleck is able to sell the movie purely based on atmosphere and timing tricks. You don’t feel the running even though the script is thin. All the performances are great and cover up the deficiency of character development in the script.
See the movie.
If you have been alive during the 70s and 80s
If you enjoy the charm of  movies of the era
If you like Ben Affleck as a director who does not go for the flash like many new directors now adays,
You will enjoy the movie.


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