Argo

Director: Ben Affleck

Nominated: Best Picture; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Supporting Actor; Editing; Best Original Score; Sound Mixing; Sound Editing

Argo Ben AffleckI was a bit surprised by Argo in that I didn’t expect to become as involved in it the way I did. The cinematography is excellent … I particularly like the way they recreated, almost exactly, images taken during the real event and the use of handheld vintage cameras. It created a really interesting aesthetic for the film.

Alan Arkin and John Goodman are a brilliant pairing with a real if cynical view on Hollywood. They provide a strong and credible support base for Tony Mendez, portrayed superbly by Ben Affleck. They also provide a much-needed platform for humour that lightens the tone of an otherwise extremely tense film, especially with their catchphrase “Argo fuck yourself”. And on the subject of Affleck he is clearly back on form as an actor, and is quickly shaping up to be a clever, and talented director who understands the strength of subtlety in filmmaking. Affleck gives a blinding performance with the quiet strength of character necessary for someone in the precarious job that Tony performs as an extractor for the CIA. It’s one of his best performances in a long time and marks a turning point in his career.

Argo captivated me and not just because there is a bit of an insight into the process that goes into getting a film up and running. What I really found interesting was the fact the film is based on an extraordinarily bold (and most importantly successful) rescue attempt following the fall of the Iranian government in 1980. Yes there has been the inevitable Hollywood treatment to the truth of the story in that they reduced the support given to the fugitive American diplomatic personnel by both the British and New Zealand governments, instead focussing on the efforts of the Canadian government in their successful extraction. However for me that didn’t really cause much concern as I have learnt to take any film based on a true story to come out of Hollywood with a pinch of salt as it will invariably have been altered to present the most sympathetic view of America possible. And that’s not necessarily just an American trait.

The casting is outstanding with almost everyone cast bearing an extremely strong resemblance to their real life counterparts. The film is fraught with tension befitting the terrible situation these people find themselves in. As I had no prior knowledge to the outcome of this event I was on tenterhooks throughout the entire film. From being one of the films nominated that I had resigned myself to watch but was not really expecting to enjoy I can happily say that Argo turned out to be one of the most powerful and intriguing films to come out of 2012.

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