The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.



Just two years late, but I’ve finally watched “Argo.”

“Argo” is one of the most suspenseful films I have ever seen.  While there wasn’t a whole lot of big action scenes, the characters and the situations itself caused me to sit on the edge of my seat for the entire film.

This suspenseful feeling started right off the bat in the first few opening scenes when we saw the history of Iran’s political power and the raiding of the American embassy.  These scenes were filmed with such detail, not only filming shots of the crowd, but in the crowd as well.  I felt like I was standing with the protesters and ambassadors, experiencing this event first hand.  This clever camerawork helped to create the setting and set the atmosphere for the rest of the film.  It was an amazing opening sequence.

I loved how Ben Affleck mimicked actual photos and videos from true events for his scenes.  This made the film feel real, like it was more of a documentary than a drama.  And the comparison during the credits between the real and re-created shots illustrated how spot-on the technical team was in accomplishing this feat.  I also liked how they incorporated real news coverage of that time and incident.

Even though we didn’t get too deep into the lives of the characters other than Tony Mendez, I still felt emotional at the end.  Analogous to the ambassadors, I felt my heart stop when they were in the plane waiting for the news that they were out of Iranian air space.  And once that announcement was made, I was filled with relief and even got teary eyed as the characters began rejoicing, finally free.  I did not know these characters very well, but the writing, directing, and musical score made me empathize with them on a deep level.

I don’t like when films or books are a bit too dark.  This film was about a difficult time and a very serious threat; however, laced within this frightening story were lighter moments that kept me from feeling completely bogged down with emotions and dismay.  These lighter moments occurred most particularly in scenes involving John Chambers and Lester Siegel.  They weren’t heavy-handed nor were they obviously being thrown at us to ease the tension.  No, these moments worked in perfectly with the rest of the film.  They weren’t distracting and were an essential part of the story.

I just love that at the surface this was a movie about movies saving the day.  Being a movie lover myself, I found it fascinating that this CIA operation actually existed.

I did not know anything about the true story when I watched this film.  Sometimes I feel that stories can be too repetitive and over-told.  Not in the case for “Argo.”  The true story of “Argo” was one relatively unknown to the general public.  I appreciated that I didn’t know what was going to happen or how the story would end.  The cast and crew proved that this was a story that deserved to be shared with the world.

One thing that I always love about historical films is that they are about real drama, not some of the scandalous crap we create for exciting TV and movies.  At its core, this film was about real life situations.  It allows us learn from our past about human nature using real events and experiences.

I love when I leave a film with more knowledge about the world than I had before watching it.  “Argo” was an educational film that not only taught me about a previous historical event but also about Iranian culture and sites.  I also learned a great deal about the CIA and foreign ambassadors.  I didn’t know much about what those government jobs entailed, but I now realize how much effort and risk those employees put into their jobs every day.

“Argo” couldn’t have come out at a better time.  With all the tension that still exists in the Middle East today, it reminds the public of the turmoil in the East and the fact that both sides have their motivations and fears.  Many of today’s prejudices stemmed from this time period and event.  We can and should continue to learn from our past.

“Argo” was an all-around amazing film.  Great directing, acting, writing, editing, etc…. It definitely deserved that Best Picture Oscar.

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2014 by in Movie and tagged , , , , , , .
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