“Argo fuck yourself”
It signifies just how competent Ben Affleck has become as a director that he effortlessly takes on the critically-acclaimed Argo; a big, ambitious, political thriller of a movie. Based on the book The Master of Disguise by Tony Mendez (Affleck’s character), Argo is set around the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and the secret mission to extract six escaped U.S diplomats from the Canadian Embassy, in Tehran, under the guise of a sci-fi movie: Argo.
The star of Argo, it has to be said, was the story itself. I was gripped from the outset. A tangible unease and sense of danger shrouds the drama and my heart was in my throat until the climax. All credit here lies with Affleck as he easily traverses the unfamiliar landscape with the same familiarity and intimacy that he achieves with Boston in The Town and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck has a directorial eye that transcends time and static locations. The film itself is pacey and most impressively, extremely balanced; Affleck lets the events dictate the tone instead of judging or preaching to the audience; helped by the archive footage woven seamlessly into the drama. It would have been easy to be patriotic and overly sentimental with Argo, but Affleck never cheapens the drama, which means when the pay off happens at the end it’s easy to feel genuinely elated.
Argo truly is fantastic. I could talk for an hour alone on how much I loved the last shot; a beautiful, simple lingering pan across a set of Star Wars toys, which seemed to symbolise the decoration of false heroes, the idols we hold in esteem above others, and a nod to the role science fiction played in this story. It was distinctly sad and poignant that these were the heroes that the child honoured and it almost felt as if Affleck was alluding to the ceremony at the end of A New Hope; silently saluting yet notably lacking from the protagonists own story.
Argo is an amalgamation of excellent writing, storytelling, cinematography, direction and acting. For a film so appreciated by Hollywood, it is distinctly lacking in that shiny, artificial quality. All credit here goes to Ben Affleck who is directing really brilliant, cerebral movies. I’m officially now a huge fan and can’t wait to see what he does next.