Reviews

Argo

4

Mr. Ben goes on a big adventure…

With Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Ben Affleck silenced his critics, joining Clint Eastwood and George Clooney in the elite club of A-list actors turned credible directors.

Not content with resting on his laurels, Affleck’s third feature sees him stepping out of his comfort zone.

Leaving behind the familiar setting of his beloved Boston for a more global backdrop, Argo builds on his earlier efforts in both scope (hopping between Washington, Hollywood and Tehran) and ambition: a period-set, true-story drama that tackles an incendiary period in the history of US-Iranian relations.

Set during the 1979 hostage crisis, in which local revolutionaries seized Tehran’s US Embassy, Argo tells the story of six Americans who managed to escape.

Holed up in the Canadian ambassador’s house, their only hope of getting out alive is CIA ‘exfiltrator’ Tony Mendez (Affleck).

His plan? To fly into Iran with fake IDs and convince the new powers that the six are a Canadian film crew scouting locations for Argo, a Star Wars-inspired space opera.

The real challenge? Creating a watertight cover by duping Tinseltown itself, via casting calls, launch parties and Variety ads…

Affleck’s biggest test - and success - here is fusing various story strands, each with a very different ambiance…

In DC, Affleck channels All The President’s Men-era Pakula: all shady sets, crash zooms and political wrangling.

In Hollywood, Argo becomes a slick industry satire, John Goodman’s wry FX genius and Alan Arkin’s take-no-prisoners producer (“If I’m gonna make a fake movie, it’s gonna be a fake hit!”) making for a triumphant double act.

In Tehran, it’s grainy, gritty and full of standout set-pieces (a charged chase through a bustling bazaar, a palpably paranoid airport interrogation…) that reveal a directorial flair for sustained, sweaty-palmed suspense.

Part comic caper, part political thriller, Affleck’s genre-mashing mongrel is a strange beast. And yet somehow he makes it work, anchoring proceedings with a likeable, layered lead performance.

Sure, there’s a couple of wobbles - a subplot involving Affleck’s sci-fi-loving son adds unnecessary schmaltz, while the six embassy employees are largely undercooked - but Argo sees the director growing in confidence and broadening his range.

It’s another victorious riposte to his detractors: in the words of Mendez and co, “Ar-go fuck yourselves…”

Verdict:

Combining laughs and thrills with plenty of verve, Ben Affleck continues his smart directorial career with a stylish, gripping hostage drama.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • MorganRoss

      Oct 17th 2012, 15:01

      Tells the story of six Americans who managed to escape? Talk about a f*****g spoiler! I am aware it's a true story but have deliberately avoided reading anything about it as I didn't want the film ruined. Nice one idiot\

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    • tomsmovies

      Oct 17th 2012, 15:27

      @MorganRoss Yes, because a Hollywood movie is very likely to end with the execution of six American hostages.

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    • MillerCrosses

      Oct 17th 2012, 22:48

      It's real life, it's already been spoiled.

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    • moviemind91

      Oct 24th 2012, 19:18

      @MorganRoss the trailer makes it obvious that they escape and yeah it's based on a true story! If a film changed an ending to a true story it's based on then it's slightly insulting (the animated adaption of the Titanic is a classic example). Besides, people will want to watch this movie because of the story itself and how Affleck managed to adapt it onto the big screen, not just to see what happens at the end (unless you're going to watch an M.Night Shyamalon movie where the ending is all that matters)

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    • samtebow

      Oct 28th 2012, 18:12

      as Ray said I didnt know that some people are able to make $7575 in one month on the internet. did you look at this link...bit.ly\X24LHP

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    • FBMHobbs

      Nov 7th 2012, 16:27

      Anyone know where i can buy some cheap Gucci shoes??

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    • FBMHobbs

      Nov 7th 2012, 16:27

      Is Alex Zane dead yet?

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    • peterfenlon

      Nov 26th 2012, 16:41

      @MorganRoss it's actually not a spoiler at all - they escape the embassy in the opening scenes of the film, setting up their subsequent need to escape the country. This forms the meat of the film, and the outcome isn't mentioned in the review. Granted the wording here is a little confusing if you are unaware of how the story develops I guess

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    • Jareth64

      Jul 26th 2013, 13:01

      2

      This film is just c**p. The only reason I can think of for the Oscar win is that it's just the usual gung-ho American patriotic s**t.

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