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Argo More at IMDbPro »

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521 out of 767 people found the following review useful:

Puzzling success for a disaster of a film

Author: szezonmeister from Serbia
25 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I understand it may flatter US patriotism, or recall memories to those who remember the events and I don't even dispute Affleck's directorial and acting skills. However, this is a completely superfluous, empty and desperately predictable movie. The historical inaccuracy has been pointed out by several other reviews: no, things didn't happen that way, the Canadians deserve much more credit in that operation than this portrayal ever shows. Notwithstanding the role of the US in sustaining a puppet dictatorship during the Shah and actively interfering in a sovereign country's domestic politics for decades prior to the events. But this is only a secondary concern: historical accuracy is not the most important factor for a fiction, even when it's based on actual events. What I dispute is how incredibly shallow and predictable the storytelling is: cliché anonymous US CIA antihero agent with issues at home goes to a dangerous place, saves innocent lives, takes risks against orders, comes out victorious to reunite with his family. Who on Earth cares, seriously? And no, the fact that it's based on historical events - and therefore you can't argue with history - is not an answer precisely because the script takes so many liberties with the events. I don't care about the liberties taken with history but I care about the ability to portray convincingly the complexity of human emotions and relationships. There is none here. And make no mistake, a fictitious 2 min car chase at an airport is the closest you ll get to see some emotions (ie. anguish at being killed by the revolutionary guards). The characters come out of a cardboard factory, they have zero critical self-reflection about their own role in interfering with a foreign country's domestic affairs, total solidarity with each other and pure love for their partners. This is a Disney version of human psyche, a dishonest and partial historical account and a debauchery of time, energy and money ill spent. Affleck is an able actor and I hope will prove more convincing in his future efforts as a director, but what really baffles me is not the mediocrity of this film, it's the uncritical enthusiasm of so many for it.

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316 out of 411 people found the following review useful:

Good movie but took a lot of liberties

Author: cheche1 from Canada
12 October 2012

This is a great movie. The story, acting, pacing, editing, etc. was just fantastic. Affleck's directing was solid, and the suspense will keep you entertained right through to the last seconds. I loved it.

It did have one irritating thing, though, kind of a big one. It pointed most of the accolades to Affleck's character and the CIA. This really was not true. It was Ken Taylor and the Canadians who really pulled 'the Canadian Caper' off so successfully.

"When Taylor heard a few years ago that Mendez had sold movie rights to his book (which, to be fair, is much more generous than the movie about Canada's role), "I said, 'Well, that's going to be interesting.'...."The movie's fun, it's thrilling, it's pertinent, it's timely," he said. "But look, Canada was not merely standing around watching events take place. The CIA was a junior partner."

"The old postscript sent the message that, for political reasons, Canada took the credit. A sarcastic kicker noted that Taylor received 112 citations. The clear implication was that he did not deserve them."(Sept/Oct., 2012,".

So the USA does another revision on history here. I believe 'Argo' goes this far. Yes, it's based on a true story - the movie does it's best to allude that it sticks to technical accuracy. And it really does, in some ways. Historical pictures of flag burners, rioters, gate climbers, etc.. up against Argo film stills run by during the credits make it seem that the facts were adhered to down to the tiniest detail. In reality, it wasn't Tony Mendez or the CIA who were responsible for the success of this operation; actually they were barely there.

Since the movie premiered, Ben Affleck has added emphasis on the movie postscripts since then that gives kudos to the Canadians' role. This was after Ken Taylor politely complained, as a Canadian would tactfully do. But Affleck did this only after pressure from Taylor himself.

I can understand the need to spice up events to make them as exciting and entertaining as possible, don't get me wrong. But this film needs to let the audience know that more explicitly than it does, even after the changed postscripts.

Still, a really entertaining and riveting film, very well done, and easily worth seeing. As a matter of fact, don't miss it.

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250 out of 328 people found the following review useful:

Formulaic and historically inaccurate

Author: Jonathan Russell ( from United Kingdom
9 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A reasonably competent movies from a technical point of view, but in other respects very misleading.

What I liked was Ben's restrained performance as the CIA field operative, and fun to see John Goodman in a straight role, but everything else was a bit lacking. Iran is an extraordinary, culturally rich and diverse country, but it is portrayed as populated entirely by thugs and fundamentalists, with the rest of the population invisible or cowering victims. I'm not being an apologist for a state with poor human rights and a dictatorial government - but it is not what is portrayed in this movie.

The basic fact that for a short period several American consulate workers were in hiding and were flown out under fake identities is true, but a lot is missed out. They first hid in the British consulate, but were moved to Canada House on British advice (as best as I can glean from various Internet sources), and the whole operation was a joint venture between at least three countries. What we get is a 'Yankwash.'

The film-makers have said that people forget that "this is a movie", and deliberate latitude and creativity is necessary for entertainment purposes to make it watchable and engaging. Okay, so if that is the case then what is left is formulaic: bad guys do something bad - maverick individual comes up with a daring plan - plan almost fails at the last minute - car chase - everyone alright now!

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the excuses. This is a lazy way of film- making. The more accurate story could have been well told - with acceptable dramatic liberties such as condensing number of characters, timescales and even adding the (actually never happened) car-chasing-a- jumbo-jet-bit as they finally flee - without having to rewrite history t a degree that becomes offensive.

So, averagely enjoyable if it was fiction and a polished production from a acting and technical point of view, but a desperately inaccurate pastiche of what really happened - a great shame as the real story would have been just as good, if not better for being real.

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205 out of 298 people found the following review useful:

Ben affleck can grow a beard

Author: nainfroid
28 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was watching this movie with 2 friends and none of us said anything until it was over. While I was watching it something was bothering me but I didn't say anything because I thought the other two were into it, Ben Affleck with a beard doing CIA stuff in 1980 Iran being a sort of archetype of what an cool movie should be these days...

Anyway I kept my mouth shut, and when the movie ended I looked at my two companions. They both seemed a little off, I couldn't tell if it was indifference or confusion or flat out boredom. One thing was clear though: this movie sucked.

First, at no point whatsover does one feel any connection and/or sympathy for the main character. Ben Affleck makes the SAME FACE during the entire movie, his eyes gazing in the distance and his mouth gaping ever so slightly, giving him an expression vaguely similar to what I imagine someone coming out of months of Electroshock Therapy would have.

I never saw how this 'acting' contributed to the 'character' in any way. In fact, there is almost no character to speak of, and you'd almost forget him if it weren't for the fact that he is in almost every scene of the movie.

Second (Spoiler I guess), even thought it started with a cool premise, the story unraveled poorly and I honestly didn't get the point. So what, they spent the whole movie training, all of it to get through a 5 minute scene at the customs where nothing really happens and another climatic 5 minute chase on the runway where clearly the car has no chance of stopping the plane, and in fact it doesn't, so there, the end? I mean, seriously??

I can only imagine that this movie has such a good rating because most people haven't even bothered reviewing it. There was a bunch of other stuff I wanted to complain about but that movie was so bland that I forgot.

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221 out of 332 people found the following review useful:

Dull and Overrated

Author: SampanMassacre from Sandwich, Wrapper
16 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a particular scene, one of the "hostages" (one of the escaped Americans from the taken-over Iranian Embassy) is looking outside the window of the safe house, and he sees, right on the street, a guy getting shot... The guy looking out the window has a blank expression, and this sums up the overall suspense and vibe of ARGO that, until the last twenty minutes when the characters are trying to silently escape through the airport, has little momentum and simply goes through the motions.

The aspect about the fake film, that will provide a cover to save the hostages, is rushed, and although Alan Arkin has funny lines, there are very few obstacles for the characters to get that fake movie going... One step to another, all the characters seem to sleepwalk through each scene where people sit behind desks and talk to each other.

Affleck's directing style is good, it looks good, but his performance is dull and listless... Much like those hostages that we are supposed to feel for but, with their horrendously distracting 1970's wigs and mustaches, they're just wallpaper in a wallpaper experience.

This is the most overrated movie of the last decade.

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152 out of 198 people found the following review useful:

Based on the Truth?

Author: jamesthealchemist from Melbourne, Australia
26 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am severely disappointed in this film for the main reason that we see US movie makers twisting the truth so that they come out looking like heroes. And I am not alone in this. The UK and French governments were quite rightly upset by the movie saying that their embassies had refused to help out the Americans in trouble. The UK embassy took the refugees in at great risk and kept them there until the Iranian guard was getting suspicious. Ben Affleck claims he had the refugees refused because he wanted them to appear to be isolated would be funny if it wasn't so clear that he actually wanted it to be the US who really saved them. At least the movie makers did have the Canadian embassy involved as it had been at the time. The movie should have said at the start that the facts had been changed in the name of drama. Movie makers have a responsibility when making movies based on the truth to let people know what really occurred. When they don't they are actually guilty of trying to change history and worse people believe what they see on the screen. And lastly seeing the guards at the airport chasing the jet in order to try and stop it was absurd. Why didn't they simply shoot at it or have the Iranian air-force force the jet to land. A joke of a movie so far removed from what actually happened and to say its 'based on the truth' really shows just how far the truth gets abused.

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243 out of 386 people found the following review useful:

The entire film plot is about 6 Americans in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution.

Author: kdillon-569-679435 from Canada
31 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It could not be more islamophobic if it tried. I am not saying the Iranian revolution was something pretty. It really wasn't. Here is a list of the disturbing in the portrayal of Iran in Affleck's Argo: -When the Iranian people spoke Farsi in the film there were no English subtitles. If an American spoke farsi there magically appeared subtitles. -Every single Iranian in the film was angry. This was the only emotion they could express. According to Argo all Iranians are hostile. -Showed no culture, not a single educated Iranian of there own right. There was one "good" Iranian who was a housekeeper to the Canadian ambassador. No character development at all, she serves her purpose and leaves. Apparently fled to Iraqi cause thats going to end well for her children. -The streets of Iran were made to look like the streets of hell. The streets are shown with either one of these characteristics 1. angry Iranian mob protesters who are in favour of the Khomeini 2. militia terrorizing and murdering it own citizens 3.objectified Iranian dead bodies. Do yourself a favour and rent Persepolsis (2007) written and directed by Iranian refugee and graphic artist Marjane Satrapi.

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222 out of 351 people found the following review useful:

What a load of sh*t

Author: tercero from Canada
24 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't believe how this piece of garbage has been hyped. It's a revisionist hunk of crap that only shows how out of touch Hollywood and the American public really are. The main character, Tony Mendez, was in Iran for 1 and half days. It was the Canadians who created the background story. It was the Canadians who issued the passports. It was Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor that took ALL of the risks. Yet, Ben Affleck seems to think if you tell a lie long enough and to enough stupid people, they'll believe it. After the fiasco that was U-571, you'd think Hollywood would have the decency not to go about spreading such misleading information. Apparently not. I'd give ARGO a zero if it were possible. It's disappointing that it's nominated for an Oscar. Argo - And Ben Affleck - You suck.

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346 out of 607 people found the following review useful:

Well done Ben

Author: Johnny Lee
9 October 2012

Honestly, I came into this movie with so-so expectations as the trailer I saw in a different movie made me give myself a 50% chance to watch it, up in the air if you will. But from the moment the movie began up until the end, I was gripping for the characters the whole way, the way movies should be.

The opening of the movie played a huge part in setting the tone of the rest of the film. As I had no history or prior knowledge to the events that transpired in Iran in the 1980s, the brief amount of a history lesson was just enough to maintain my interest. Throughout the film, there are times when I might have started to wander through long bouts of dialog, but witty comments by the characters kept me entertained. By the time the climax was about to hit, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, biting at my fingers, awaiting their next move.

Well done Ben, well done.

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122 out of 183 people found the following review useful:

Intense Film Packed With Emotion

Author: Calum Rhys from Worcester, United Kingdom
24 February 2013

Argo is the political thriller based on the 1979 Iranian hostage situation in which 6 Americans were left to fend for themselves in the centre of Tehran. CIA Operative Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck) is sent into Iran to evacuate the Americans out safely under the cover of being a film production crew working on a picture called 'Argo'.

The film is absolutely amazing and definitely one of the best films I've seen in a long time, throughout 2012 and 2013 so far we have been treated with some great films such as Skyfall, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty and more, but in my own personal opinion Argo takes the bait as the best of them all. Proof is present as it won 3 BAFTA's for best picture, best director and best editing, also nominated for a further 8 Oscars in 85th Academy Awards.

The film is packed with a sense of threat, peril and intensity all portrayed exceptionally well through the ensemble cast including Ben Affleck (The Town), John Goodman (Big Lebowski), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Alan Arkin (Edward Scissorhands) and Victor Garber (Titanic). The ending is by far the most intense ending I have seen in a long time, visually presented in such an astounding way.

Director Ben Affleck started out his auteur career after his directional debut Gone Baby Gone became critically acclaimed, three years later The Town came out with an Oscar nomination. Now 2 years on we have Argo, Affleck's best film by far.

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