Oscar Best Picture Winner “Argo” Is A Pretty Intense Rescue Thriller [A Review]

by on February 25, 2013

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Argo on Blu-ray DVD

Argo, starring Ben Affleck, (who also produced and directed) Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and more.

The movie is about a “1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

Affleck plays an expert exfil (exfiltration) CIA agent Tony Mendez, who comes up with the idea of making a cover story of a fake movie so that he can go in and have the captured fugitives pose as his fake production crew.

It seemed simple enough of a premise, but the first 30% or so of the movie constituted the CIA putting together their fake movie, and then the rest of the story being that of giving the cover story to our victims, convincing them to accept it, and executing it.  All with the support of various entities over in the U.S..  It turns out dealing with Hollywood in creating a fake movie is pretty complicated, that is if you want it to pass muster.

The story is an exceptional tale of dramatic suspense.  Mendez has to conquer enough obstacles as it is, but he’s got to keep his 6 charges in line and the U.S. support process going.

To be honest, despite the historical flashback, I don’t think there’s much more I can add about Argo that’s not already out there…well, except for the fact that since I didn’t write this review soon enough after seeing it, that I can now add it is an Oscar winner for “Best Adapted Screenplay” and “Best Picture!”

Congrats to Ben Affleck and ensemble on that achievement.

And for the suspense that this movie presented, this was an incredible story that was pulled off by our secret agent spy, who never lifted a hand in any form of violence to get his job done.  It was quite amazing and it reminded me of Peter Lawdron’s Anomaly hero in his indie sci-fi book.

But since this movie has been digested by many other professional movie reviewers other than myself, I’m not sure what I can add to the list of accolades about the movie.  So I thought I’d take a slightly different approach to this review, which, if you haven’t seen the movie, might be a bit more spoiler-filled, though, not they won’t be huge spoilers.

The movie takes place in the 1979-1980 time frame and thus, there are some visuals that are worthy or eye-opening for some.

In the Hollywood settings, it was an eerie reminder to see how the Hollywood sign had come to the state of dis-repair we see in the film.  Having lived in the region most of my life, I had forgotten.

And though I enjoyed that reminder, there’s something to keep in mind…  the movie takes place about a year after the sign actually got repaired.  But hey, who cares?  I loved the reference.

The Hollywood sign is mounted on what’s known as Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills.  The lettering is forty-five feet tall and was originally a real estate marketing ploy… I mean marketing scheme that was only meant to stay in place for less than two years.  That was 1923.  Then the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in to protect and fix the sign and the restoration funding was led by none other than Alice Cooper… yes, that one.

Also in the Hollywood phase of the Argo movie plot, as Tony Mendez (Affleck) was cruising the back lots, it was a hoot to see stunt guys taking a break, with their helmets off.  Those stunt guys being Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.

(Actually, to be honest, for a spy-thriller, there was quite a bit of homage paid to the classic sci-fi movies of old, from Star Trek, Star Wars, Forbidden Planet and many more.  Keep your eyes peeled.)

Also, I had to hit rewind for a second to confirm the appearance of one Adrienne Barbeau, which I wasn’t expecting.  Again, to minimize spoilers, I’ll let you discover where she shows up.

The other cute retrospect involves the old crypto equipment that you might spot in the Embassy offices and in residence of the Canadian ambassador.

And I started laughing so hard in one scene.  Many, many years ago, while being briefed in to hold the position of COMSEC Custodian (Some of you will recognize what that position is), they showed me a film where terrorists attack the facility.  Rather than getting out, the film showed the security personnel high tailing it into the bowels of the building to destroy material or lock up safes.  I had always gotten a kick out of that scene, but when it was depicted in Argo that the folks in the American Embassy actually did that, my jaw dropped!  Wow. That training film actually meant it.

OK, enough of the flashbacks.

Argo is an awesome movie. Yes, Ben Affleck plays a non-violent action hero, but that’s not to say there isn’t a bit of violence to be had in the movie.

If I were to rate the movie, I’d probably give it an 8 out of 10.  (After scoring it, I just checked on what the IMDb users rated it and the average rating there is also an 8.0)

->  ARGO On Amazon <-

Hence, I don’t think you could go wrong renting or for whatever reason, buying and adding Argo to your collection.  Especially now that it’s a dual Academy Award winning movie.

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