Sunday, October 21, 2012

Argo review

Argo is director Ben Affleck's third film. I did not see his other two, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, but Argo shows that he is definitely a director that is going to be around for a while. Argo is the kind of '70s style thriller that doesn't need bullets or mass explosions to get audiences excited. It just needs good old-fashioned tension. Argo is a very exciting thriller that has you on the edge of your side and laughing out loud as well. The film is one of the best from 2012 and will definitely be a major contender at the Academy Awards.

Argo is the story of six American diplomats who escaped the US embassy in Tehran while it was being sieged during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. The six find refuge at the Canadien ambassador's house, but are under a ticking clock. The leaders of the revolution are putting together shreds of paper and will soon realize that the six have escaped. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) is a CIA expert tasked with getting the six out of Tehran. He comes up with a plan that involves posing as a film crew for an exotic science fiction movie and using that to get them out of Tehran. He comes up with a whole fake operation including makeup expert John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and the question still remains: will Tony's plan work?

The film is smartly written. It balances the tension and humor of the story nicely and a lot of the highlights of the movie. The score is beautiful and highlights the tension of the story when it needs to, but isn't over the top. There are plenty of scenes that have no music, just silence. The comic relief is one of the best parts of the film. It's not forced, it is completely natural. The story is just so ridiculous it works. Goodman and Arkin especially should be in contention for a best supporting actor nod. Even during some of the more intense scenes during the beginning of the film, there is a lot of humor involved.

The story is very emotional as well. You feel for the hostages, you want them to get out. Towards the end of the film, I felt so frustrated, I was like come on get out! The tension at the end of the film is not caused by excessive gun chases, but by the fact that it's just intense. There is a good chance they will be killed and throughout the final scenes it is very tense.

The best parts of the story for me were the Hollywood parts. Argo shows Hollywood when the Hollywood sign was in pieces and everyone was trying to make Star Wars copies. It lovingly pays homage to Hollywood while also making fun of it. I had a smile on my face throughout most of those scenes.

Argo is one of the best films of the year. Granted, this is one of the weakest years I have seen but still this is a very good film. I don't have very many criticisms. Affleck isn't great as Mendez but he is good and there are a couple moments where it is slow but overall it is a very strong film. Argo is rated R for language and some violent images. It has very many uses of the f-bomb including a repeated phrase that will definitely get the crowd laughing. Go see Argo, it's one of the best films of the year.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A+                                            (10/10)


  1. Good review Josh. Not the most perfect movie I’ve seen this year, but is still an entertaining flick about a top-secret mission nobody ever knew about. Sadly, we all know how it ends and that’s what kind of sucks all of the energy out of this flick in the long-run.

  2. I felt that there was still enough tension that even though you knew how it was going to end, you were on the edge of your seat. My biggest problem with the film was the sudden tone change between the second and third acts. That threw me off a bit.