Movie Review: Argo

Whew! It is great to be back in this blog to write a movie review for such a great movie.  

 Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis, focusing on the little-known role that the CIA and Hollywood played—information that was not declassified until many years after the event. Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck (“The Town,” “Good Will Hunting”) directs and stars in the film, which is produced by Oscar® nominee Grant Heslov (“Good Night, and Good Luck.”), Affleck, and Oscar® winner George Clooney (“Syriana”).

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage.  But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor.  Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, the Canadian and American governments ask the CIA to intervene.  The CIA turns to their top “exfiltration” specialist, Tony Mendez, to come up with a plan to get the six Americans safely out of the country.  A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.


I wasn't really captivated on the first few minutes of the film thinking that I am going to watch another documentary movie all set to preach a message. But the wait was worth it. There was witty comedy, there was suspense, there was drama, all in this film that doesn't feel forced at all. It was great to watch a film that is taken from an important part of American history that did not feel preachy. It was simply great storytelling.


The movie resonates the 1970's, a period that is not always depicted on film. It was refreshing to see the iconic styles of this era, forgetting that some of the styles of that decade are considered as "fashion" today. It was quite interesting to see the old production signature of Warner Bros. at the beginning of the film (I believe it was the 1970's production signature) just one detail that makes you believe at the first few seconds of the film, that you are watching something one of a kind. Amidst the period of high definition, 3d films we see, I noticed that the film looks grainy, much like that of the old films. Not something distracting I may add, but more of staying true to the period from whence it came.

It was evident how careful the designers were in crafting this period film. The fine details from costume, to makeup, to technology as well as the overall look of the film shouts 70's. Such a feast in the eyes.


I must say that Alan Arkin was the best character in the film. His dry humor with John Goodman and the wisecracks that come along with it are a standout.
I was not really satisfied with Ben Affleck's acting in the film, he looks depressed and sullen all throughout but the supporting cast was great. What the ensemble was able to achieve is to resonate real human emotions, that it felt like it jumps out of the screen. You can't help but feel tension during the suspenseful moments of the film.

I'm not sure if I am in love with this film because I don't have high expectations for Ben Affleck as a director, or it was just a great film. Probably one of the best films of the year. Four stars!

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with GK Films, a Smokehouse Pictures production, “Argo.”  The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Shown in the Philippines October 17.


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