Argo Movie Review

Argo won Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night, and since I’ve heard so many good things about it, I finally watched it.

It’s a (mostly) true caper story that revolves around the Iran Hostage Crisis in the 1970s. Six Americans escape when a host of murderous Iranians storm the embassy and hide in the Canadian ambassador’s hideout. They have to escape the country before the Iranians find out they’re missing from the hostages they have in the embassy. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), an exfiltrationist expert for the CIA, comes up with a plan to get them out of Iran by having them pose as a movie crew scouting a location for a new science fiction film, Argo.

This isn’t a thriller or an action movie – it’s a drama, so it’s a bit slower-paced than you might expect. The screenwriters did a good job of setting up a complicated situation and drawing the viewer in, though. It’s very intense, especially at the end, but Ben Affleck didn’t need to use chase scenes or exploding cars to make it exciting.

The costumes, colors and camera work fit the time period very well. Real news footage from the Iran Hostage Crisis was mixed in at times, which gave the film an authentic feel. I also enjoyed the fact that Affleck didn’t always use subtitles when characters were speaking Arabic. This added to the tension and realism.

There’s a little violence and one slightly disturbing scene with a dead body hung from a crane in Iran, but what really earned the “R” rating was the amount of cursing. I would have enjoyed this film a lot more if they hadn’t said the f-word so often. I almost turned it off at the beginning because it was so irritating, but then it got a little more bearable.

Overall, I thought Argo was excellent. It was an interesting choice for Best Picture because it wasn’t super artsy, but it was very well made with an excellent script that kept me engaged until the very end. It had a very authentic feel, and although it’s been criticized for downplaying the Canadians’ role in the real-life rescue, it’s a really cool true story that I didn’t know about until now. Aside from the ridiculous amount of cursing, I would highly recommend it.