March 17, 2013 by rachelcmann
If you can’t tell I’m getting around to watching the Oscar nominees about a month too late. Oh well! Argo is all anyone has talked about for a while now, so I sat myself down. Warning: Do Not watch this movie if you have a heart condition. The climax is heart thumpingly terrifying and amazing. Let me back up a little though.
Argo is the true story about the extraction of six American Foreign Service workers who managed to get out of the US embassy before it was overrun with Iranian revolutionaries. They were harbored in the Canadian ambassadors residence for months before the US decided to go get them out of the country. Of the 79 people taken hostage in the embassy, 52 of them survived 444 days before their release. 444 DAYS! While their return to American soil was fraught as well, the Argo story has a) more information and b) more appeal.
Basically a CIA agent who specializes in extraction comes up with a plan to pretend the six are part of a film crew. He sets up a fake Hollywood studio and eventually convinces the muckety mucks that it’s a good idea. It’s certainly better than the State Departments idea of having them ride 300 miles to the Turkish border on bicycles. (Seriously, I hope they fired that guy.)
Despite the steady state of the moving it’s very compelling, it’s quite a quiet film. I happen to enjoy films that don’t shout out their plot points at you, but it’s not for everyone. That said, it’s still got elements of an action movie and spy thriller. Ben Affleck did a great job directing and I think all of actors did a great job. Did Alan Arkin deserve the Oscar? I don’t know, but he was definitely my pick over De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook.
Even if “based on a true story” or historical or action or thriller movies aren’t really your thing I think this film is something you should see. At its core it’s a story about people trying to do the right thing. And sometimes we need to be reminded that, every once in a while, things do turn out okay.