Posted by Rande Iaboni on October 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm
In the last few years Ben Affleck has transitioned from a paparazzi targeted actor to a well respected and talented director, at least in my eyes. His first two directing debuts – ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘The Town’ – were both critically acclaimed, and this year’s ‘Argo’ joins that list in superior filmmaking.
‘Argo’ tells the true life story of a CIA “exfiltration” specialist who concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador as the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point. To be honest I was not all too familiar with this real life story, not only was it before my time but the plan to free these six Americans was considered classified and unknown to the public until somewhat recently. However, even if you are familiar with it that shouldn’t change the impact this film will have on you. Especially considering what is happening in Benghazi, Lybia currently, this has a very timely release.
What we have here is a compelling crime drama with three dimensional characters (not surprising considering they are based on real people) and nail biting suspense. And even though I knew the outcome of the film before going in it didn’t make the suspense any less ‘end of your seat’ for me. In fact I don’t think I took a deep breath during the entire climax, I was that engrossed in this flick.
There were two factors in play that sold this film for me, the script and the outstanding cast. Let’s begin with this script, written by Chris Terrio, not only did it take a complicated story and make it comprehensible (a truly difficult feat in m opinion) but it also took a terrifyingly dramatic story and managed to make me laugh at times. How many crime dramas can pull that off?
Which brings me to this cast. Wow, I really was impressed all across the board here. Ben Affleck really tore at my heart here and I truly believed every moment of his performance. I did not see him as JLO’s ex or Jennifer Garner’s current hubby, I saw him as a member of the CIA who desperately wanted to bring these six Americans home, he made me feel every emotion. The American hostages also managed to create six distinguished characters, a difficult task when they could so easily be bunched together, with Clea DuVall as a standout in the group for me. But the real scene-stealers here were Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin, both brought a ton of much needed comic relief to the film and both came off so ridiculously likable even with the limited screen time they were given.
Whether I was biting my nails in suspense, laughing hysterically at Alan Arkin, or closing my eyes in fear, this movie sold me on every level. A success in storytelling and compelling characters, ‘Argo’ is definitely one of the year’s best. I expect this film to be honored heavily at the Oscars this year. SEE IT.