Wow, it’s been a fair little while since I’ve posted on my blog. Life is just so mad busy at the moment – I keep starting blog drafts and not finishing them as more & more time keeps going into my family life and work life. I keep trying to dip into my reader to see what everyone is writing about at the minute, however, that has become harder too as I rely on the WordPress app on my phone to stay active and it keeps crashing on me when I try and open all of your wonderful articles! I’m not being rude, honest! I bumped into an old friend at the train station the other day who called me on my absence blogs; so here you go Mark – I hope you enjoy, sorry it took so long, this one is dedicated to you. Miss you Mary.
Anyway, seeing a great deal of the Oscar buzz surrounding the film ‘Argo’ I felt inclined to go away and get it watched. I found a rare two hour gap in all of this madness called life to watch a flick by myself and I went with this one. I’m not normally influenced by awards season hubbub – In recent times I have become more & more sceptical of the big award nominees/winners as I have been finding my tastes and opinions don’t seem to be much in line with the decision makers in the awards associations & judging panels. The Hurt Locker was a great example of the hype not matching the experience for me in recent times. However, something about this film had caught my eye and so it was already lurking at the back of my mental “must watch” list anyway, despite the Oscar hyperbole.
Happily, ‘Argo’ proved to be quite a fulfilling experience. I enjoyed it very much.
For those not in the know; ‘Argo’ tells the true story of six US Embassy Diplomats trapped in Tehran, Iran during the infamous 1979/1980 hostage crisis. It follows the CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez as he develops an elaborate plan involving the creation of a Hollywood studio and the production of a fake film as his cover for his journey behind enemy lines to rescue the stranded diplomats.
I don’t think there was anything about this film I didn’t like. From the first second to the last second of the film I was gripped by the piece. As the first few moments of the Embassy invasion started to unravel on the screen in front of me I truly felt the tension of the characters as the crowds gathered at the gates and began to climb the wall. The performances were excellent, the pacing was excellent and the cinematography was excellent as it set the scene and portrayed the events that were to be the catalyst of the 14 month long Iranian hostage crisis.
Every moment of the film from that point on carried the tense undertone of these first few scenes. I was only vaguely aware of the real life events this film was based on and had no recollection of the outcome so found myself on the edge of my seat throughout, especially as we got nearer and nearer to the films conclusion.
Even through the lighter steps of the films central section I couldn’t shake the sense of suspense, and, while there were a few chuckle some moments as Mendez creates his false movie cover, as every ticking moment passes that these Diplomats remain trapped in Iran I felt their stress and the pressure of the situation increase and increase. The simple things set me on edge; every minute wasted waiting by a landline telephone, every bit of news footage on the background televisions, every moment in the Canadian Ambassador’s home with closed curtains and the hiding hole made me feel closer to the edge and tightened the film’s tense grip around me.
So, a big nod there to Affleck from a directing point of view, all the more enhanced by the great performances. It to felt to me that there was a lot of top talent on show by the cast, but the real stand outs for me were Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston and Scoot McNairy. Everybody pulled their weight and really sold the frightened and urgent feel to the film.
I’ve read some coverage about the flick that questions the films historical accuracy; apparently it sells short the Canadian involvement, misrepresents Irans position of anger, and stereotypes the Iranian people. All of these criticisms may well be very true but they did not effect my enjoyment of the film. It certainly felt genuine and was filmed & performed in a manner that did not make me inclined to question it’s authenticity (I was in it for the entertainment after all) and I fully understand artistic license in these sorts of circumstances. Upon reflection the piece did have a whiff of “U.S.A, FUCK YEAH!” about it, however, I’ve long been desensitised to that (I grew up in the Eighties, after all). So I recognise that it may have it’s downfall in the eyes of some, but I liked in despite this.
So, a hearty recommendation from Mr Six over here; worthy of an Oscar and a enjoyable watch. I look forward to some of you guys seeing it and sharing your thoughts too.