I’m not a big fan of the whole “based on a true story” idea in cinema for many reasons. Hollywood tends to dramatize events and sometimes lie altogether. Argo may be a little guilty of this and have some other small annoyances but didn’t bore me to death like most films in the genre. The movie follows Tony Mendez on his quest to extract 6 U.S diplomats from Iran during the Iran hostage situation in 1979.
Argo uses some very interesting camera filtering techniques to create a very authentic vibe that gives the illusion that your witnessing the past. The opening animation and narration was a bit unnecessary in my opinion and served little purpose. Most of that information was elaborated on during the following scenes and close ups on television sets.
The film is based on a true story but it is apparent that certain elements of the plot were added for suspense. The big Hollywood film producer Lester Siegel(Alan Arkin) didn’t exist in real life and neither did many other aspects of the plot. There was also the fictional airport scene, in which their was a cat and mouse between the diplomats and the revolutionaries. These events were used to build suspense and heighten the sense of relief felt when they were home free. (Do I need a spoiler Alert for a true story?)
The film has some flaws but is saved by some casting decisions. Bryan Cranston’s role as Mendez’s CIA supervisor was pleasant to watch. He offered humor and as expected can turn on the intensity if need be. There should have been more screen time for the diplomats. I thought that preparation for immigration at the airport was bit glossed over.
Affleck not only directs the film; he is the bright spot. I’ve never understood the hate for Affleck’s acting. I really enjoy his presence on screen. The bearded but ruggedly handsome Affleck, comes across as a genuine and caring man, who is devoted to the lives of the 6 diplomats trapped in Iran.
The film is broken up by comedic relief during several scenes. This was one aspect of the film I didn’t really think belonged. It might seem silly to root for a darker film but for the sake of lightening a relatively grim situation, I suppose it was necessary.
Ben Affleck is establishing himself as a true man of his craft. After watching his directorial work in ‘The Town’ it is becoming evident that this once overlooked actor may have more ability then he is given credit for. With solid performances from Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin; Affleck has created an enjoyable film which also to happens to be informative. Whuddya know?