Friday, December 7, 2012
Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston
October 12, 2012
Warner Bros. Pictures
As the Oscar race is heating up, it's time to catch up on some movies that I have yet to see that are being talked about and possibly going for all of the gold. The first film that I needed to catch up on was Ben Affleck's 'Argo.' Despite never having seen a Ben Affleck directed film before, this was a movie that I had been looking forward to for a while. It has an awesome concept for a movie, a solid cast, and is being directed by someone who hasn't directed a bad movie yet in Hollywood. After waiting nearly two months to see it, I'm happy to report that 'Argo' was indeed worth the wait. The first half hour might be a little slow, but that can be ignored as it's intense, funny at parts, smart, and features one of the best finales to a movie all year. There's a reason why 'Argo' is getting awards buzz, and that's because it's awesome.
The story starts in 1979 where many militants took 66 Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Iran, but 6 of the Americans escaped before anyone noticed. With all of the papers within the Embassy shredded, it would take a while for the Iranians to find these Americans, who are hiding at the house of the Canadian Ambassador. After over two months of no plan whatsoever to get the 6 Americans out, a man in the C.I.A. named Tony Mendez comes up with a crazy scheme that could actually get the soon to be hostages out of Iran: Mendez poses as a Hollywood producer in Iran with his "production crew" to scout locations for a cheap science fiction fantasy adventure entitled "Argo." The 6 Americans pose as Mendez's crew, which would require extensive help in order to get them into their roles. With the help of two men in the movie business, Mendez creates a fake movie that would soon become one of the greatest classified stories in American history.
In all honesty, I don't think people are giving Ben Affleck enough credit in regards to his acting in the movie. His portrayal of Tony Mendez, while mostly subtle in emotion, is as gripping as the film's final 40 minutes. Not a lot of emotion is used by Affleck in this character, but he does have a couple of spots where the emotions shine. It's not as great of a performance as Alan Arkin in the film or any of the Best Actor contenders at this year's Oscars, but it is a performance that I feel people are overlooking due to his directorial efforts. Speaking of those, Affleck shows in 'Argo' that he is a master at his craft. This film clearly had the vision of someone who understood the material and knew exactly what he was doing. If Affleck gets nominated for anything, it's going to most likely be for Best Director, which he deserves without a doubt. I can't wait to watch 'The Town' and 'Gone Baby Gone' so I can compare the other two directorial efforts to this one.
There wasn't a single bad performance present in here at all. Even though I felt Affleck is not being given enough praise for his acting in the film, there were better performances in this movie. Bryan Cranston, aka the guy who has been in a lot of movies this year, is good in the film. The thing about him is that it felt that he was underused for the relatively big name that he is thanks to the TV show 'Breaking Bad.' The best performances in the film without a doubt were John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Both actors were hysterical in this movie, with Goodman playing the late make up artist John Chambers and Arkin playing Hollywood producer Lester Siegel. There's talk of Arkin getting nominated for his work in the film, but honestly I don't think he was great enough to be considered, despite being great in the movie. It's one of those nominations that I'll be happy about, but I just don't think he deserves it for this film. The rest of the cast for there small parts are all great, which overall sums up my thoughts on the entire cast: they're great.
The buzz for 'Argo' is well deserved without a doubt. The film might start off a little slow, but once it gets going I tell you it gets going fast. The 30-40 minutes of this movie is the most heart pounding sequence in a movie all year, and I sincerely mean that. Director Ben Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio have brought a suspenseful, hear-stopping, and sometimes funny thriller that doesn't need violence to keep its viewer on the edge of a seat. All of the Oscar buzz, while it isn't my favorite movie of the year, is well deserved, especially for Ben Affleck's direction. Plus, this film has a catch-phrase that I know will be quoted by many people for years to come. If this film is still playing in a theater near you, check it out before it's too late. 'Argo' is a film experience for modern history buffs and movie-goers everywhere. 'Argo'-see this movie right now!
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