Oscar Review: Argo (Best Picture)
Director: Ben Affleck
Writers: Chris Terrio, Tony Mendez (book), Joshuah Bearman (article)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Synopsis: A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.
Ben Affleck being snubbed for a Best Director nomination is probably the biggest joke of this year’s Oscars. With Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck is now 3 for 3 as a director with Argo. From opening the movie with a blend of storyboards and video footage of the events that led up to the hostage situation to closing the movie with a thrilling and well-choreographed escape, Affleck’s direction is top notch. The way he is able to blend scenes from the States and from Iran is exceptionally well done and really showcases what he’s capable of and makes me really excited for what he does next.
Yes, believe it or not, Argo is actually based on a true story. Crazy, huh? But the movie about a fake movie is both gripping and surprisingly funny and the ability to go back and forth so seamlessly is what really makes the movie a joy to watch. While it may be a little too Hollywood-y with coincidences that only seem to happen in movies, it didn’t detract from the overall experience.
From notable stars to bit actors whose faces you would know but names you probably wouldn’t, Argo has what may be the best assembled cast for any movie of last year. Stealing the show, however, is Alan Arkin, who is nominated for an Oscar for his role as snarky Hollywood producer Lester Siegel. He, along with John Goodman, provides all the funny moments in the movie and has one of the best lines of any movie last year. Arkin’s role reminded me of his role in Little Miss Sunshine, in which he won an Oscar for, and I couldn’t get enough of him. He is brilliant.
Argo‘s score by Alexandre Desplat is effective, especially during the final sequences in the movie, and is much better than his score for Zero Dark Thirty. However, it could’ve been better. Also, the period-centric songs from bands like The Rolling Stones, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin were a nice little touch and added to the overall vibe of the movie.