Historical spy thriller teems with suspense

By Kyra Smith-Cullen
A&E Editor

October 18, 2012

Photo courtesy of movies.inquirer.net

When it comes to the movie industry, the phrase ‘based on a true story’ tends to cause groans, but “Argo” manages to be both historical and entertaining because of excellent choices in direction and casting.

The movie is about the Iran hostage crisis that took place from 1979 to 1981. After the Iranian civilians stormed the American Embassy in Tehran, six employees managed to escape and hide in the Canadian Ambassador’s residence. The story follows CIA agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) as he plans to extract them safely before the Iranian revolutionaries identify the American citizens and try them as spies.

Since the film is based on a true story, its ending is slightly predictable. However, getting from start to finish leaves plenty of opportunities for the plot to twist and surprise the audience, keeping them at the edge of their seats.

Part of the suspense is due to the work of the actors, who seemed to immerse themselves in their characters’ roles. There are times in movies when characters are over-exaggerated, even though they shouldn’t be, but that never happens in “Argo.” The talented actors make perilous scenes seem very realistic. There are small moments of character development spanning the entire movie, but to see it all come together was amazing, especially at the end. Ben Affleck did a fantastic job in his starring role as Tony Mendez, but I felt that the actors playing the six escaping Americans were even more impressive.

Another thing that is well done is the way the director mixes historical news footage of the hostage crisis effortlessly into the film. It added an extra sense of realism that worked beautifully in the big picture. Plus, when the film focuses on the hostages and the Iranian revolutionaries, the director used techniques to add a raw feeling to them, so it felt like the audience was present during the riots. The camera angles and filming methods were excellent, and I would definitely recommend going to see it if you are interested in the cinematography aspect of movies.

Because of terrific direction, writing and acting, “Argo” manages to make history come alive. If you are looking for a film that takes the audience on a suspenseful journey, then “Argo” is the movie for you.

 

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