Every since I saw the first trailer for this film I was fascinated, the Iranian Revolution is a fascinating period of history and I find it amazing to see the ways in which the US government tried to rescue the hostages. With this film, I had a hard time believing at first that the plan was real but with wider research, I found out that it was real, a story so crazy it can only be true. To that end, what did I think of the film? It was incredible and is quite possibly my favourite film of the year.
Starting off, the film does a great job of getting the audience into the vibe of the 1970s and the Iranian Revolution right from the start with the film starting off with the 70’s version of the Warner Bros logo and then showing the audience the causes of the Iranian Revolution, to let those who are not familiar with the event get up to speed so they know the danger that the characters are in. Then follows a recreation of the seizing of the US Embassy in Iran, mixing in footage filmed by Affleck with archive footage of the event. This is the perfect way to start a film like this. it sets up everything for the audience to show how much danger the characters are in. This is probably the best opening sequence I’ve seen in a film this year.
Going along from that is the script and the direction. Firstly the script is incredible, perfectly matching really funny lines with moments of genuine suspense and the dialogue related to the people trapped in the Canadian Ambassador’s house really makes you feel that everyone involved knew that they were on a ticking clock over whether or not they were going to be found out. Combined with the incredible direction by Ben Affleck, who with this, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, shows that he is a true force to be reckoned with in the film industry. The way Affleck shoots the scenes really makes the audience feel tense, especially later on in the film with some of the best tension created in a film that I’ve seen. This combination of a brilliant script and brilliant direction makes Argo one of the best films on a story-telling standpoint that I’ve seen this year.
Then there is the real attraction of the film, the acting. Everyone involved does a great job, from the really nervous and concerned performances by Bryan Cranston and Victor Garber, to the intense, dramatic performance given by Affleck and the really frightened and realistic portrayal of the escapees by Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham and Kerry Bishe. However, the two standouts are John Goodman and Alan Arkin. With Goodman, he brings so much heart and warmth to John Chambers, with a real sense of likeability, plus Goodman is a dead on match for the real life John Chambers that I cannot see anyone else playing Chambers in this film. With Arkin, he is so funny in this film in a really deadpan and self depreciating sort of way and the way he delivers some of the key lines in the film made me laugh a lot. The best parts of the film in terms of acting come whenever Arkin, Affleck and Goodman are on screen together. They all have an amazing chemistry with one another and you feel a real sense of comradely between the characters in their role in the Argo plan.
Overall, this was an incredible film. Everything about the film works perfectly. Sure there was some dramatic license taken with the plot but the decisions made served to make the film more effective. The usage of news footage throughout the film serves to show the popular perception of the Revolution, the way the film compares the attitudes of the American and Iranian people is incredible and the film has the perfect ending, a segment from an interview with Jimmy Carter about the Argo plan. This is an incredible film and if you haven’t seen it yet, go to the cinema and watch it, it’s an incredible film.
My Rating: 5/5