Film Review – Argo

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To begin with, I have never seen any movie winning an Oscar which is being awarded by Michelle Obama after her live-speech cameo appearance from the White House. Therefore, I must admit that witnessing this action does not lead to an automatic watching of the movie Argo. The reason is simple: if this is the only movie which is being honored by the First Lady of the United States there must be some dubious and biased things in the background. But let us not go into politics and different ideological questions, because I would like to turn to a brief analysis of this marvelous film entitled Argo.

First of all, the fact that it won 3 Oscars already indicates and proves the point that it is definitely a movie which is worth dealing with. Furthermore, it has been given the Movie of the Year award as well quite early in 2013. Additionally, the film has a 87% success rate since it won 58 of its total 67 nominations. I am only emphasizing these numbers because unfortunately there are some viewers who judge films based solely on their success. However, the fact that it got a prize for ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published’ is definitely something that everyone should pay attention to. It implies that this is not a new movie in the sense of covering a fresh story full of new ideas and concepts but in fact a dramatization of an already happened historical operation.

bryan-cranston-cia-director-in-argo-with-ben-affleck-imagesThe story is set between 1979-80 in multiple places because although the first events took place in Iran but after a short while actions start to shift to the United States of America. Regarding the major happenings the plot can be briefly told without spoilers. The story starts in Tehran where Iranian revolutionaries took control of the U.S. Embassy taking 56 Americans as hostages. However, 6 American managed to escape and find shelter in the home of the Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor(Victor Garber). After two months of hiding from the public the CIA and the U.S. Department of State come up with a plan to get their 6 people out. That is when the protagonist Tony Mendez(Ben Affleck) comes into the picture as an exfiltration specialist in other words as a secret agent whose job is to save people out of foreign surroundings. He has an idea of pretending to be a whole cast of a Canadian filming crew pursuing the perfect location for a futuristic sci-fi along with the above mentioned 6 Americans. So, he goes into the lion’s den in the hope of a successful return without any harm. There are several aspects why I like this film, but one outstanding feature is that there are altogether 3 climaxes(at least) in the 2-hour movie.

argo-poster03As a matter of fact, Ben Affleck is not just the protagonist with a massive beard throughout the whole movie, but also the director of the film which shows the versatility of him as a person. Although, some negative remarks have been stated criticizing his acting lacking the emotions along with different facial expressions and eventually it turns out to be true that he constantly appears with the same inexpressive look. The other side of the coin is that it must be part of his character being the always cool-headed, experienced professional.

In order to be more actual and personal, I have to share that being an undergraduate majoring in American studies, this film has more relevance and essence due to the investigated reasons in the movie. All the actions coincide with my current studies of American history with a focus on foreign policy and how different countries approach each other politically and socially.

All in all, I do not need to further emphasize that this film is an absolute must for those who are at least a bit interested in foreign policy and cross-cultural issues. In addition, it is a beautiful adaptation bringing us, viewers back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s era with the help of a modern, experienced cast. Naturally, I recommend it to everyone and for the sake of a stylish ending I would just quote the tagline of the film: ‘The movie was fake. The mission was real.’

By: György Taragos

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