Tuesday, 5 February 2013

ARGO

In 1980, the US embassy in Iran was stormed and fifty people held hostage, but six escaped and managed to hide in the Canadian ambassador's home. The CIA and the Canadian government then had to work together to get them home, and had very few viable options. The one that they went with? They pretended to be a Canadian film crew scouting for locations for a sci-fi fantasy film in the Middle East.

Now, normally, I would never have gone to see a film that had the words "based on a true story" anywhere near it. I don't like to watch films or read books that are based on true stories, because I always feel that I can predict the ending, because the story is hampered by the limitations of reality. Sure, you can tell me that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, but I'll just smile and nod and secretly disagree with you on that point. This film, though...well, I was interested in the premise because I thought it was so ridiculous, and then the fact that it's been winning so many awards while being kind of snubbed by the Academy intrigued me further. So I went to see it (and thanks to Vue for bringing it back, although really it's their fault I didn't get to see it the first time around because they kind of buried it in the schedule and then took it off really quickly).

And actually, the fact that it was based on a true story was what created the tension and made it an excellent film to watch. Had it been complete fiction, I would have known what to expect of the ending - that all the hostages would get home safely and live happily ever after. A typical Hollywood ending. But the fact that it was based on a true story meant I really didn't know what would happen. And it was gripping. Truly gripping. The storming of the embassy was beautifully done, and the mixing of original and new footage worked really well. And the ending...well, I won't say any more, I won't spoil it for anyone, but it is tense. Truly tense.

As with any film, there were little things that bothered me, but I don't really want to write about those, because I think that overall the film was excellent. The acting, the writing, the directing, the music, the costumes. There isn't a weak link here, and it fully deserves all of the awards it has received in the last few weeks, though I can't say I hope it wins the Oscar for Best Film. I'm now torn between this film and Silver Linings Playbook.



4 comments:

  1. It was good, that’s for damn sure, but there also felt like something was missing from the final-product to really take us by storm. Everybody’s fun to watch and the movie has it’s tense moments, but overall, it’s not as exciting when you know the out-come beforehand. Nice review Lesley.

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    1. Ah, maybe that's the difference - I had no idea of the outcome before I watched the film. In fact, I read an article afterwards explaining how the film differed from what actually happened and was amazed they'd managed to make it so interesting (because the reality was pretty dull. I'm sure it was interesting to the people involved and I'm not trying to minimise what they went through, but it wouldn't have been as interesting to watch).

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I've heard such amazing things about this movie, I definitely need to get to it when it's on Demand! Ben Affleck's movies never disappoint me, and this sounds like it's such a fun and thrilling watch. Great review!

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    1. And it's actually understandable without subtitles unlike the last Ben Affleck film I saw, which was The Town. To this day, I have no idea what 90% of what he was saying was!

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