Argo (2012)

There aren’t many moments in American history where a conflict has been resolved without much bloodshed. You just genuinely cannot find a time where Americans have resolved conflict without bloodshed, whether it be a small part of history or world-changing. However, there is one particular incident where they took a smarter approach.

This is the time when Tony Mendez singlehandedly extracted six hostages from the country of Iran while it went through humongous civil unrest. So, let’s talk about the very real story of Argo, and why Ben Affleck’s directorial effort is worthy of the Oscar that it won.

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The Movie Review

The story starts off on 4th November in 1979 with the United States Embassy in Tehran being stormed by Irani rebels. Iran is in full revolt against the United States for giving their Shah, Reza Pahlavi safe asylum within their country. 66 people working at the United States embassy were taken hostage, six of them however managed to escape.

The story from there on changes perspective and begins following Tony Mendez, the CIA’s exfiltration specialist is called to work and so he begins devising his plan.

Inspired by the popular science fiction films, Planet of the Apes; Tony devises a plan to infiltrate Iran and pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for their new film. Argo is born with very real advertisements, concept art, and production houses involved. Upon landing in Tehran, he provides every single person a fake identity, which they shall use to leave Iran legally.

They eventually run into some confidence problems, out of fear of getting killed we assume but they hold their composure and let Tony guide them to success.

The film has a very simple plot and premise, but the intensity here comes from Chris Terrio’s almost end-of-the-world-like screenplay and Ben Affleck’s fast-paced reimagining of the events. Tony’s informed of the whole situation quite fast, and he devises the plan pretty fast as well.

However, the complications arise when he’s convincing these absolutely terrified hostages on how they will have to act, behave and blend within the crowd as Canadian filmmakers. Chris Terrio’s screenplay then takes the film in a faster direction where the characters must adapt to their situations quite fast and figure out their path before they get found out.

While it consistently keeps building tensions by showing their images which were shredded being pieced back together right as the moment they enter the airport. The authorities chasing them as their plane is flying off, and even a moment where they almost get overwhelmed by a mob at a marketplace for taking pictures for their so-called science fiction film. This tension depends not just on the writing, but on the brilliant acting that is showcased here.

While Ben Affleck’s role as the protagonist Tony Mendez isn’t anything special, the supporting cast’s performances as hostages stuck in Iran are incredibly realistic and elevates the experience even further. Their portrayals bring an aura of fear that you can empathize with as a viewer, and Ben Affleck meticulously gives each character screen time and presence to develop them further.

While I do think that other films deserved to win the Oscar in the 2013 Academy Awards, Argo was a fair contender to win it all. Was it because of American patriotism that the film managed to win?

It is a possibility. However, even if it wasn’t, Argo is a stand-out historical thriller that manages to do what many historical thrillers cannot; stay true to the source material. It’s a realistic film about a realistic situation, with realistic portrayals of REAL people; it’s the best way that a film of this stature and type could have been made. I respect the creators’ dedication to their vision.

So, in conclusion; Argo is a terrific thriller film that couldn’t have been made any differently. Though this might be a personal preference, it lacked the dramatic oomph that many other films seem to bring with their entertainment factor despite being historic.

Dunkirk is a recent example of this sort, completely true to its historic roots but still highly entertaining. Argo is a film you watch to know what happened, and you appreciate the commitment that the actors and producers put into it, however, you don’t really get emotionally invested in the film and it doesn’t really resonate by the end. It was an iconic story in history, but in film form, it doesn’t seem to work.

Argo (2012)
Argo is a thriller based on historical events that depicts the mission of rescuing American hostages in Teheran. Download it now.
9 Total Score
Argo (2012) Review Summary

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Zain Bhatti

Zain Bhatti

Zain is an aspiring filmmaker who has invested thousands of hours of his life into understanding films and the way they are made. He has a passion for films, a love for cinematography, and adores a film that breaks the rules to bring something refreshing to the table!

Apart from films he also has a love for video games with immersive worlds and adores any piece of consumable media that he can analyze for countless hours.