Monday, October 15, 2012

"ARGO" IS A MUST-SEE! by Pamela Powell

I will be the first one to admit my ignorance in current events.  It has been my M.O. since high school.  During high school is when "ARGO" took place.  I have vague memories of the events of that time period, all of which were negative regarding our nation's history.  I remember the yellow ribbons.  I remember hearing about local "boys" who were overseas.  I remember my parents being constantly stressed and talking about the demise of our country.  After seeing "ARGO," I am happy to know more and now vow to pay more attention to current events, both good and bad.

WOW!  That sums up "ARGO" from beginning to end.  Beginning with an encapsulated version of what happened in Iran in the 1950's, then in the late 70's to the current time period of the movie in 1979, which were the historical facts that I needed (and I'm sure some of you did too!) in order to understand the premise of the movie.  The information presented was not skewed to one side or the other.  They were just the facts.  Ben Affleck played Antonio Mendez, a CIA 'exfiltration' specialist who was called upon to help devise a plan to get 6 escaped hostages safely home after being hidden in the home of the Canadian Ambassador and his wife.  We, the audience, were almost a part of the horrifically stressful invasion of the US Embassy as we watched the unfolding of the anger of the Iranian people toward Americans.  The stress, tension, and split second decisions that were made by all of the government workers to protect the US as well as themselves was captured through realistic dialogue and cinematography.  I felt for each and every character portrayed on the screen.  Even as I write this review, my stomach has a pit in it thinking about what they were going through.    You felt the risk.  You felt the tension.  And you felt the terror as prisoners were being taken away, hooded, and dreading the unknown of events to come.

The high ranking government officials were at a loss.  Mendez had an idea that he could walk these 6 Americans out under the premise that they were actually a Canadian film crew.  Mendez called in favors with contacts in Hollywood such as John Chambers (Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to help him develop a realistic cover.  In addition, he relied upon the support of his boss, Jack O'Donnell, played by Bryan Cranston.  Cutting back and forth between how the US was unfolding its plan to what was happening in Iran continued to keep the level of tension at its highest.  No moment on screen was wasted as was probably the case with the actual event.  Every moment counted in order to get these people home safely.  Affleck was superb.  Cranston was outstanding.  Alan Arkin and John Goodman added a slight amount of levity, but did not take away from the seriousness of the topic.  They just added realism to it.  The 6 who were hiding at the Canadian Ambassador's house were all unknown actors to me, but their level of skill in portraying these characters was beyond any performance I have ever seen.  There was not a weak link in the cast.  The sequence of events were concise and perfectly told, never losing sight of the tension and end goal.  Although I knew how it ended, I was still on the edge of my seat, not wanting to take my eyes off the screen for one moment as I couldn't miss a moment.  It was as if I was a fly on the wall witnessing these events.

This was a difficult story to tell with so many nuances and so many characters to develop.  By the end of the movie, I knew each character and why they did what they did.  As the credits rolled, the audience was still.  Not a breath could be heard, no munching of popcorn, and no one stood up to leave.  We were all still mesmerized by what we had just seen.  At the very end, there were photos of real scenes in Iran that were identical to the scenes we saw in the movie.  There were also photos of each of the characters in this movie.  The actors cast to play these rolls were not only cast for their acting abilities but also for their physical likeness to the real person.  In some cases, the similarities were uncanny.

It is not often that I write a review with absolutely no criticism.  I have none for "ARGO."  It was truly one of the most informative and realistic movies about an actual event with outstanding acting from each and every performer that I have ever seen.  The direction and editing were also outstanding.  Capturing the time period was perfect and the attention to every detail was flawless.  It's rare that we can view a movie like this.  If you go to the theater to see only one movie this year, go see "ARGO."


No comments:

Post a Comment