Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Film Review: Argo - (2012)

Director: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
Running time: 120 minutes
Age Rating: 15
UK release date: 7th November 2012

I've got to give it to Argo. It makes what could have been a really slow film with an uninteresting ending, one of the tenses pieces of cinema this year. Yes Argo is a good film; it may even be a great film. But I'm not spoiling that just yet.

Argo is based on the actual events of the 'Canadian Caper' operation back in 1979. For those of you who don't know what that is, it’s basically where six American diplomats were rescued from Iran by pretending to be Canadian filmmakers shooting a science fiction film. It’s a pretty interesting story, though it never seemed like great film material. This is because it basically involved a lot of waiting round and concludes with the diplomats getting on a plane and flying back. In the film Ben Affleck (who also directed the feature) is Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who is tasked with getting the diplomats out of Iran. And that's all you really need to know, it’s a really accessible film that a wide range of audiences can enjoy.

The greatest achievement of Argo is how well it handles tension and suspense. This is one of those films where you can probably tell what will happen from the beginning, yet it really draws you in during some of the later scenes. The film has a ticking clock element, where the diplomat’s identities are slowly being pieced together. This is cut in throughout the film and even makes the planning stages of the escape feel tense. You'll be on the edge of your seat by the time it gets to the finale.

Argo is essentially a thriller, but evokes elements from classic spy films and heist movies. On top of that it's both a realistic retelling and has distinct comical elements. While this mix sounds cluttered it's actually really well put together. In fact one of the film's greatest strengths is the contrast between the Hollywood scene and the more serious ones in Iran. One problem with the may be the historical accuracy of the piece. I can see that there are aspects left out, however I feel that in service of the overall story this is a fair trade off.

It’s not often that a film like Argo is made. It’s serious yet equally as fun. I'd highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a great thriller, combined with aspects of spy and heist films. And a special mention goes out to the great performance from Ben Affleck's Beard.

"........." - Ben Affleck's Beard.

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