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Argo well done and worth the watch

Paul Peterson

I had the chance to see Argo this week and it was fascinating to watch. Not just because it’s a well written, directed and acted film, but because I was watching the news back in the day and I thought  I knew what happened but apparently I was sorely uninformed.

As it turns out the U S really is the centre of the universe and all things American are pure and good. I don’t usually interject any political overviews but in the wake of the American election and writing this in the shadow of the bicentenial of the War of 1812, I felt I had to introduce at least a small editorial “Aw shucks”. But I digress
So for starters, accolades are in order for Ben Affleck.
He started with Good Will Hunting and the promise of that film never materialized or at least took a long way to find the light of day again. Can you say Giggly? Ya it’s time to put that to bed. I know. However, last year’s The Town and now Argo put him head and shoulders above most of the current crop of actor/directors and give him some stand alone cred as a director.
He tells good stories.
I think it’s interesting that now that the film is out and has received some negative response from the Canadian side of the true story. He has gone out of his way to build up what Taylor and his staff did.  Put it in the movie Ben. Forget apologizing on Twitter.
So, our story so far.
Time is running out for 6 hostages hiding in Taylor’s home so Tony Mendes (Affleck), extrication expert for the CIA is called in
His boss Jack O’Donnell is skeptical to say the least but Tony has a plan and the nerve to pull it off.
He wants to pretend to make a movie called Argo, a Star Wars spin off, and he’ll smuggle the people back out of the country disguising them as production crew.
He rounds up some of his Hollywood contacts, including sketchbag director Lester Siegel, played with great style and humor by the always entertaining Alan Arkin. He just owns whatever role he plays. Lester  has his own Wag The Dog/I’m a big time director moment as they plan this thing out. Argo is a Star Wars rip off film  for the record.
John Goodman is having a renaissance career playing the character guy with specific skills and he’s underplaying his normal buffoonish persona and it works. Here he’s John Chambers. Finally Canadian actor Victor Garber plays Ken Taylor who is the real hero of this adventure, no matter what the movie says. Interestingly enough, I rarely like Garbers characters in film. He always seems to have this underlying layer of sleaze.
But again I digress.
Here’s the thing. This is a really good movie. It’s exciting and smart and movies quickly for a full two hours without wasting any time on filler. I really like Bryan Cranston and he has carved out his own little role here. Mendes is the star but he shares the film with his co actors.
If it was any less of a film I would take serious umbrage with the historical revisionism
We all know the truth or at least know what our truth is. Ken Taylor has always been a hero to me and this film doesn’t change that. He made a significant difference in the lives of 6 people who were spared the horror that their comrades experienced at the hands of these Iranian zealots. That’s what matters. How they got out of the country is cool as well, and I strongly recommend seeing this movie. It’s incredibly well done, entertaining and it’s based on a true story.
I know if it bleeds it leads, and it’s hard to make a dynamic movie about living safe in a foreign country that has essentially declared war on you. That diary would never make the big screen so we’re lucky to have this. I just think they could have shared the credit a little better. Argo is a good watch and probably gets Affleck a Best Director nod. The academy is, after all, mostly American
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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