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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Affleck employs dramatic license to make CIA Iranian rescue operation more suspenseful than it actually was

6/10
Author: Turfseer from United States
2 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed 'Argo', but some people are talking this flick up as an Oscar winner for best picture. That I cannot see. However, it is definitely a story worth telling as it's a fascinating tale and reminds Americans about the dangers of a country like Iran.

Perhaps the most gripping part of the film is the opening, as the US embassy is about to be taken over by fanatical 'students' and supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who just returned to Iran as a result of the 1979 revolution. Ben Affleck does a great job in chronicling how US embassy staff members went about shredding classified documents, minutes before the embassy compound is taken over by the fanatics. Equally fascinating is the way in which the six US staff members make their escape, as they simply walk out on to the street from an adjoining building, while the crazed Iranians are focusing on attacking the main part of the compound.

When I first heard about 'Argo', I thought the whole operation was much more extensive, involving a whole film crew entering Iran and actually beginning to film a phony movie there. It wasn't quite that complicated. CIA operative Tony Mendez's plan was simply to create the illusion that a movie was going to be made in Hollywood, by taking out an ad in a trade paper and holding a 'table read' of the script, which was covered by the press. Interestingly enough, the producer played by Alan Arkin is a fictional construct; only John Goodman's character, John Chambers, the Hollywood make-up artist, actually existed.

As the Argo story develops, with Mendez flying to Iran posing as a Canadian film producer and establishing contact with the Iranian film board, it all seemed quite plausible. And when Mendez takes the six members to a bazaar in the city, where their cover is almost blown when confronted by an angry crowd, that also seemed quite real. But when we finally arrive at the crucial scene, where the six must get past an Iranian ticket taker at the airport, without any proof that they actually came into the country, I wondered if that happened the way it's depicted in the film. It turns out that in reality, the Canadian ambassador's wife purchased three separate sets of tickets on three different airlines for the six embassy staff members.

Even more historically inaccurate is the suspenseful scene in the film, in which the Carter administration cancels the mission just as Mendez is about to attempt to whisk his charges out of Iran. In reality, the mission was canceled for only thirty minutes and that occurred BEFORE Mendez left the United States.

Finally, perhaps the most suspenseful part of the film, the confrontation with the Revolutionary guards at the departure gate, the call to Hollywood to confirm Mendez's cover and big chase out on the runway—none of that ever happened. Even without prior knowledge of the true history of the events depicted here, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the chase on the runway was pure Hollywood.

Does Affleck's 'dramatic license', diminish the film's overall impact? Frankly, yes. Too much of what goes on, seems a bit far-fetched. Nonetheless, 'Argo' is still quite entertaining and is worth the price of admission. More credit should have gone to the Canadian ambassador Taylor, in his role in saving the US embassy staff members (the closing credits merely allude to the great co-operation between the US and Canada and say nothing specifically of Taylor's heroics).

Finally, I was most impressed by the casting choices for the six embassy staff members. The ID cards of the actual escapees are shown during the closing credits, juxtaposed with the actors playing them. Take a look at the resemblance between the real and the fictional characters. It's uncanny!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Big lie for Iran

3/10
Author: hoseinalinaghi from Iran
17 March 2013

This movie is a big lie for Iranian culture,character,language and manners. this film show us angry people in Iran that have no wisdom and tact. if the Iranian people even or Iranian government were in this attitude, the hostages didn't be released ever. the hostage crisis was a big mistake of governments of Iran but this can't be a reason to lie about it with a wide movie. the end of the film was so predictable. I surprised what the academy awards gave the Oscar of the best picture to this film that has no historical study enough. this movie disguise the fact. the story of film was so easy and obvious without any complication. Ben Affleck had tried hard to make a good film but for professional audience this is not a good film.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

'Argo' is an exciting political thriller which will have you white-knuckled

9/10
Author: ersinkdotcom from United States
27 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't usually go out of my way to see political thrillers. If I catch them on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I'll end up liking most of the ones I watch. "Argo" is one of those movies I would have passed up watching had it not been for one catch. The idea of the government using the making of a fake space / fantasy film to free hostages from Iran intrigued me. Once again, I'm very glad I listened to my instincts and took it in.

In 1979, six Americans are put in hiding by the Canadian Embassy when the U.S. Embassy is raided in Iran by militants. Everyone else in the building is taken hostage. The U.S. government decides to take the unconventional advice of CIA operative Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get the six diplomats out of the country. He will enter Iran and smuggle them out as a group of filmmakers scouting for shooting locations for a fake science fiction / fantasy film entitled "Argo."

Ben Affleck continues to surprise me. He's always done his own thing in Hollywood. He'll do smaller films playing less conventional characters like "Dazed and Confused," "Mallrats," and "Chasing Amy." The next thing you know he's taking the lead in blockbusters and popcorn flicks such as "Armageddon," "Daredevil," "Pearl Harbor," and "The Sum of All Fears." Affleck's had his share of stinkers and received some unwanted attention in the tabloids as well. What actor hasn't?

One thing Affleck has done is prove he's a versatile talent in Tinseltown and isn't going away any time soon. He won an Oscar for his "Good Will Hunting" script and continues to collect awards for "Argo." The movie is nominated for an Oscar for "Best Picture" and it deserves the honor.

"Argo" appealed to me in so many ways. I was born in 1972 and was completely caught up in "Star Wars," "Star Trek," and "Planet of the Apes" fevers. A movie based in that time period about people making a fake sci-fi movie as a front to save hostages is captivating.

Add to that the fact that award-winning "Planet of the Apes" makeup artist John Chambers helped the government get the hostages out of Iran. I remember seeing the news broadcasts about the hostage situation as a boy, but I didn't understand what was going on at the time. The whole event is interesting to learn about.

"Argo" is an exciting political thriller which will have you white- knuckled and gripping the edge of your seat. Director Ben Affleck did a great job keeping up the suspense and pacing in the film. Even though you know how it's going to end, you are still nervous for the characters as you watch. That's just good filmmaking in my book.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

When Great Script and Great Editing Are Perfectly Combined

8/10
Author: http://jonnyfendi.blogspot.com from Indonesia
24 February 2013

Generally, there are three themes that tend to be favored by award community and film critics, the winning themes are about humanity ("Schindler's List" {1993}, "The Shawshank Redemption {1994}, "Slumdog Millionaire" {2008}, etc.), patriotism ("Saving Private Ryan" {1998}, "Black Hawk Down" {2001}, "Lincoln" {2012}, etc.) and the world of cinema itself ("Cinema Paradiso" {1998}, "Hugo" {2011}, "The Artist" {2011}, etc.). Well, thiz movie has all three of them. Producer, Director and Actor Ben Affleck is smart enough to realize it and takes advantage of that. Ben Affleck is Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who is responsible for covert operation to extract six American embassy employees out of the rage of Iran revolutionary by pretending to be Canadian film crew. It seems that Ben Affleck has done a tremendous job as the Director. He starts with an effective prologue to provide sufficient information and every time the scene heats up, particularly when the scene of American embassy is invaded, he cleverly adds relaxing piano instrumental music to cool things down and doesn't try to provoke audience into infuriated reactions. Thiz is his third feature films behind the camera after "Gone Baby Gone" (2007) and "The Town" (2010). For the acting, Ben Afflecks looks cool, calm and confident. John Goodman, Bryan Cranston and Victor Garber give brief but consistent performances and the last but definitely not least, Alan Arkin creates a powerful and believable emotion as fearless Hollywood Producer. I also have to put some credit to the Production Designer Sharon Seymour who successfully makes everything look like 1980s such as costume, hairstyle, glasses, car, furniture, television, telephone, everything! How they put attention to detail is undoubtedly amazing. Personally, for me, the power of thiz movie is in the last half hour. Thiz is a good example of what you can get when great script and great editing are perfectly combined. My heart nearly stopped while watching thiz final scene which takes place in Iran airport. They use almost all aspects to create tensions from ticket, telephone, soldier, bus, you name it and they have done it. When it's over, there will be some satisfying and gratifying feelings. In the closing scene, when the camera pans over the toys of Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and other sci-fi movies one by one. It simply wants to remind us that they are not only inspirational icons in our pop culture, but also they have ever saved lives. Great movie, great story, great moviemaker!

Visit My Blog on JONNY'S MOVEE: http://jonnyfendi.blogspot.com

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Argo 'ahem' yourself......

9/10
Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
10 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After Iranian militants stormed and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 taking 56 Americans as hostages, six Americans managed to get away and took refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador.

After two months of the Canadians putting their lives on the line everyday, the CIA and the US State Department try to come up with a plan to get their people out.

Tony Mendez is a specialist who proposes that they pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo.

Using Hollywood connections, Mendez creates a back story for the movie - ads in Variety, casting calls, inviting he media to a production launch - and then heads off to Iran to lead the six Americans out......

When I first heard this film was being made, I had no education on the history of the movie, all I knew is that is was a true story based on something political in the middle east, with a really strange title.

I was expecting another Syriana, which I found very mundane.

But the reviews and the plaudits for this film got me very curious, so I went in cold, and I came out seeing one of the most gratifying films of the year.

Affleck once again proves he could be the new Eastwood in Hollywood and the way he mixes comedy with intense drama is wonderful.

Some scenes are just genius, like the scene where there is a rehearsal, and the captives are treated to a pseudo execution, and then Affleck showing us that both sides can put on a show.

Arkin And Goodman are the brilliant comic relief, and whenever they are on screen, the tension is ever so slightly lifted and relief sets in, apart from one scene involving a phone.

Affleck, considering he is the director, is really restraint in this movie, and plays it down, whilst the rest of the cast go for it, and it's to his credit, as it shows that his character has a lot riding on this.

It never lets up on tension, even when the six are enjoying their final meal, there is a sense that the door could be broken down at any second.

The final third is genuinely edge of your seat stuff, and I've never been so relieved to hear a air steward state that they were able to serve alcohol again.....I wanted to cheer with the six.

All in all, it's a wonderful movie, a perfect antidote to some of the dross movies that get dumped on us around this time of year, and really worthy of your attention.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Another brilliant Ben Affleck effort

9/10
Author: Jafar Iqbal from United Kingdom
9 November 2012

Cinema these days is dominated by remakes and reboots and sequels and adaptations; there are rare exceptions, sure, but film studios and filmmakers seem too scared to attempt something original. Everything is based on something. There's always a source material. So it's no longer about how original a movie is, but how original that source material is. Which brings us nicely onto Argo, which is inspired by one of the most original source materials out there.

It's more or less a case of truth being stranger than fiction with Argo. Six American diplomats living in Iran have to go into hiding during the 1980 Iranian Revolution. The CIA concocts a plan to bring them back, by making them pose as the film crew for a fake science fiction movie.

It's hard to believe that all of this actually happened – that the American and Canadian governments were able to fool the Iranians to such a farcical extent is fascinating, and so it's no surprise that director Ben Affleck wanted to tackle it. He's also a producer on the film along with George Clooney, which tells you how much faith there is in the subject matter. This is a film about the strength of the human spirit, and the lengths that people will go to protect their own, a theme that seems to run through all of Affleck's writing and directorial efforts.

Another staple of Affleck's films is his knack at picking a stellar cast; and the cast for Argo is fantastic. Bryan Cranston. John Goodman. Alan Arkin. Scoot McNairy. Victor Garber. Kyle Chandler. Chris Messina. And that's not even the full list of excellent supporting cast. So many brilliant actors acting brilliantly. It's a treat to watch. Each of the lead actors gets a moment to shine, whether it's Arkin and Goodman trading barbs, Scoot McNairy's airport performance, or Cranston's running around. But just like in The Town and, arguably, Good Will Hunting, Affleck is the one giving the best performance of the movie. He is a quiet presence, letting the personalities around him strut their stuff while he holds it all together. The comparison to Clint Eastwood is blatant: an actor-director capable of bringing the best out of himself.

The film has flaws. There are inconsistencies, and a few logic slip-ups, especially in the climax of the movie. Sure, they help amp up the drama, but jars the movie slightly. Too many characters means a slight confusion about who and where everyone is. And I wish I had more emotional investment in the six hostages, as I don't care too much about their survival as I do about the whole plan itself.

But I'm nitpicking, because I think criticisms are needed. Whatever faults there are in this film, they're overshadowed by so much good. Conception and execution of this story are top-notch. Ben Affleck proves once again that he is fast becoming one of the best actor-directors out there. Yes, this is not an entirely original film but, if you're gonna adapt something, make sure it's done properly. Argo is, fortunately; a must-see.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

level of Details in the Movie

9/10
Author: babakj-623-2841 from United States
3 March 2013

I was a 12-year old Iranian boy in Tehran during the actual hostage crisis, and I remember the events vividly. I have seen the movie three times and I keep getting amazed at the accuracy of little details embedded in the movie, 99% of which would be unnoticeable to all but the Iranians like me with be vivid memories of the events.

For example, the rifles that the Iranian revolutionaries carried were not the prolific AK-47, rather the German HK G-3 rifles that were taken from Shah's military. The movie accurately shows that. They could have used the easily available and cheap Ak-47 in the movie and no one would have blinked.

Or the Iranian visa stamp that Affleck's character received in his passport in Iran's consulate in Turkey was from the Shah's Imperial regime that had been overthrown a year before. And the Iranian consulate representative manually and diligently struck through the logo in Farsi, and replaced it with "Islamic Republic of Iran" by hand. This must have been lost to all but otherwise attentive Farsi speaking movie viewers, but is an absolutely small, but very powerful detail, given the historical phase the story is taking place. The fact that the movie production dug that deep into details is remarkable.

As for dress code and make-up, they were also spot-on right.

There is a glaring exception, however. Thinking that an Iranian revolutionary guard would pick up the phone and call up a Hollywood studio from Tehran airport on a moment's notice during passenger screening is simply preposterous :-) I also wish the 2-minute narrative at the beginning of the movie discussing the historic events was more detailed. It was all accurate, but not deep enough.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

on the 33rd anniversary of the Embassy Take Over

Author: cgerrits from Atlanta, GA
4 November 2012

I saw Argo today. On what is 33rd anniversary of the start of the Hostage Crisis. While this was in fact a worldwide story, for me, I found myself awash with memories of that time and perplexed at the emotions this film triggered.

I have no recollection of the six who got out, though I am sure I saw it on the evening news. I do recall trying to marry the idea of how I could be safe in suburban DC while halfway around the World it seemed as if everything was falling apart. And I wondered how things like this could happen in the World. (Sadly, a question I still ask to this day.)

Superbly cast, an outstanding soundtrack, fantastic attention to detail. Argo is a story that is so far fetched that if it was work of fiction you'd struggle to find it believable. And yet. And yet, we sit in a dark theater, sniffling with strangers, gripped by a story that we all know the outcome of.

It was also interesting to contemplate how far technology has advanced in such a short time. One wonders in this age of almost instant communication how different the story would have played out if there had been facial recognition software and email instead of teletexts and telephones. Watching a character make a telephone call and waiting for someone to answer sparks the examination of how different communication was in a World where an answering machine didn't yet exist.

Also worth mentioning is the filming style. Cinematography was spot on. I started crying at the first shot of DC from the air. So glad Affleck didn't employ the popular "hurky jerky" filming method while shooting Argo. Though the times portrayed in the film were frantic I appreciated the subtle, patient portrayal of a story that unraveled like a spool of thread.

As a 6 year old child in the midst of a decaying marriage, and really, the start of my parents divorce, the Hostage Crisis is forever etched in my mind as a time of change not only in the World but also in my house. By the time we got to Day 444 I was in single parent home headed by the father. Was very poignant for me personally when a character in the film says that kids.."they need the mother." That they do…but they also don't need to be in a house full of fighting and tension all the time either.

I challenge those of us old enough to remember that time to not be transported to who we were and what we felt back then; I challenge those too young to remember to learn about that time as see how years later repercussions still echo in our World today.

Job well done by all.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A good movie.

8/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
15 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Argo is a good movie because:

Argo at the introduction shows a time line of Iran's history leading up to the 1979 Islamic revolution. The character development is excellent. One senses the urgency for the characters and how the characters behave from the scenes from the taken of the American embassy. I like the part where the one person you think is going to crack helps out the most, which is so true in real life. The C I A is portrayed as governmental. However, some people who work for the C I A will sacrifice for a job and when successful are given no credit for the people involved.

I do not know how much of the real story was changed because of time constraints or in order to dramatized the movie. Besides the above mentioned point, I found Argo educational and entertaining. Ben Affleck is becoming a good director. Ben has gone a long way from the O'Bannion character from the movie Dazed and Confused. Eight out of ten.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Incredibly over-rated

1/10
Author: mattgs242 from Sydney, Australia
7 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, this movie was something. I had heard that it won some Oscars and being a big Breaking Bad fan, thought watching Bryan Cranston would be an enjoyable experience. Oh, how I was mistaken.

First off, this movie is ridiculously inaccurate. I've read how the character Affleck plays is only in Iran for 1 and a half days, and that it practically spat in the face of Canada - giving not half of the respect the nation deserved and played the "USA! USA! USA!" card.

Secondly, this film is incredibly insulting to Iran. OK, we all know Iran is not the most glamorous place in the world, however it is portrayed to be the equivalent of the bit of dirt and gum stuck between our shoes. In every scene, the Iranian people are angry, unforgiving murderers, executing people and generally causing havoc and terror

Finally, the actors are like cardboard cut-outs. Affleck has the same stupid face throughout the whole film and don't even get me started about the "hostages". I could not have cared less as to what happened to them.

Overall, this film is garbage. It is infuriating to think that this won an Oscar. This film is just a shot of pure American patriotism and misleading and false information.

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