Argo (2012)

Argo (2012)
  • Time: 120 min
  • Genre: Drama | History | Thriller
  • Director: Ben Affleck
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin


In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage. However, six managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devised a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez created the ruse and proceed to Iran as its associate producer. However, time was running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House had grave doubts about the operation themselves.


  • Very good movie! Based on a true story and I think the reconstruction is done well. There’s a lot of suspense when they take the action, and the right atmosphere is present. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of Ben Affleck, but in this movie he’s doing great. Maybe the ending could be a little bit better, but still… it’s a must-see!

  • I didn’t really want to watch Argo in the first place but with all the hype going on about the award nominations and people claiming Affleck got robbed… So I gave it a try. Yes, the movie is OK – and really good job on the visual aspect of the movie but those people, who are praising the acting, just got caught by the story. There is not much acting going on in this movie. You expect to see 6/7 people scared to death and trying to mask this fear but you only see 3. I’m not saying they suck but none of the performances are outstanding. I don’t even understand why people get caught by this story anyway. I just thought: That’s what you get for supporting dictators like this piece of s***. Not saying any of those hostages deserved what was coming to them but it didn’t really let me suffer with them, especially not with those 6 who got away. It seems the audience just likes to celebrate some American heros. It’s the same effect with “Lincoln”. The movie is OK but the story is a national (or even global) treasure, so people praise the movie and the acting into an unrealistic level.

    Another problem is: Everybody knows what’s going to happen. So many of the efforts to create tension just fail and appear kinda pointless, especially the chase on the runway.

    The movie looks good and it is well done but it does not deserve awards for acting or best motion picture.

  • Argo is Ben Affleck’s third feature film next to The Town (2010) and Gone Baby Gone (2007). Based on the true story of the rescuing of six hostages from Iran in 1979 (by way of fabricating a fictitious story of a movie being filmed), this is by the book, meat and potatoes filmmaking at its finest. Argo is very well done, has an extremely focused way of storytelling, and provides an accurate look of the late 70’s culture. The only misstep in this exercise may very well be Affleck giving the lead role to himself. He plays a C.I.A. infiltration specialist (Tony Mendez) who goes in enemy territory to aid the hostages and get them back to the states. Affleck is not a bad actor by any means. However, when he tries to do two things at once (starring in his movies and directing of course), his performances suffer (this is also evident in The Town). During the two hour running time, his screen presence is somewhat effective but he mugs to the camera quite frequently and delivers his lines in a sort of wooden fashion.

    In the end though, Argo is a safe film. It doesn’t take any risks, it’s not entirely compelling, and it doesn’t grip you like it should. However, the Academy disagreed and gave it 2012’s Best Picture award. Again, this I feel, was the Academy being safe just like the movie. There’s no doubt that Argo is a solid vehicle. However, it’s more of a movie to admire, not embrace.

    Check out other reviews on my blog:

  • “If you want a lie to become a truth, have the media tell it for you.”

    What do you get when you mix the CIA, Hollywood and Canada during the 1980 hostage crisis in Iran? Three unlikely allies bound together for the hope of freedom.

    What do you get when you convert history into a two-hour Hollywood blockbuster? In this case you get an unseen and haunting point of view from CIA agent Tony Mendez, who created a fake sci-fi flick as a ruse to rescue six American diplomats hiding out in Tehran after the seizure of the American Embassy. You also get a lot of disgruntled viewers dissatisfied about the treatment of the nightmarish fiasco, and how Argo chose to manipulate history to create an Oscar-worthy hit.

    I think this film is intense, resonating similar internal fears that The Hurt Locker stirred up a couple of years ago. There’s a great cast, a sharply executed script and two hours of nail-biting, heart-racing suspense…but more importantly it teaches a new generation a piece of history most know little about. Whether or not the film follows the crisis fact by fact, it’s important to know the gist of what happened.

    Actor-Director Ben Affleck has another bold and daring film to add to his directing resume, following Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Based on CIA agent Tony Mendez’s 2002 book The Master of Disguise and a 2007 article in Wired magazine, this movie is getting a lot of attention—for its cinematic accomplishments and for its historical accuracy…or historically inaccuracy as some are claiming. Aside from the positive accolades it’s been receiving (a definite shoe-in for Oscar season), Argo is getting heat about what’s fact and what’s fiction, and how the latter is detrimental in retelling history.

    Argo recounts the CIA’s creation a fake Star Wars knockoff, compete with a script and ads in both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. The ploy was to get CIA agent Tony Mendez, who specialized in “getting people out of hostile circumstances,” into Tehran to rescue six American diplomats who escaped during the storming of the U.S. Embassy, and were hiding out at the Canadian Ambassador’s home. This is all true. We all know how the story ends; it’s history, and the success of this classified mission (and rescue) was a beacon of hope during the 444-day crisis, which brought the entire country together in its support for the hostages. What we don’t learn from the movie is precisely how this mission played out. How much of Argo is fact?

    Despite the film focusing on recounting what happened from the perspective of the CIA and Mendez, the film sparked controversy when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall, particularly with Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor (played by Victor Garber) who housed the six Americans in the film. According to the film, Canada received full credit for the mission at the request of the CIA, who feared the repercussions of their involvement. The audience gets the impression that the Canadians did not truly deserve so much credit, portraying the Canadians as a sidekick and not a major player.

    Following the controversy at TIFF, Affleck added a postscript to the film stating “The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments.”

    From a cinematic standpoint on retelling history, this is only one facet of the crisis, not the entire story. A portion of the film revolves around Mendez and the CIA becoming involved with Hollywood to get Mendez’s fake movie idea in motion. The Hollywood satire spin of the film was fantastic, and it also introduced the two movie scene stealers, John Chambers and Lester Siegel. Mendez and his supervisor Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) contact John Chambers (John Goodman), an Academy Award winning makeup artist who had previously worked with the CIA on crafting disguises. Chambers gets them in contact with film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin). From here they create a film, a fake production company and publicize Argo as the next big hit in Hollywood. A ruse so ridiculous, it’s crazy enough to work.

    With a strongly adapted script and a hell of a standout cast, particularly by Goodman, Arkin and Cranston, arguing fact vs. fiction can only go so far. It’s hard to please everyone when retelling history from behind the lenses in Hollywood, especially while attempting to keep the audience’s attention and balancing that with historical integrity. Was I surprised with the fact-bending of Argo? A little. But I understood that I wasn’t there to watch a documentary nor a mini-series. If you disagree….

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