Any of you hoping to see a plucky pregnant deputy, William H. Macy, and a woodchipper, perhaps owing to what you thought was a typo on the theater marquis, will be disappointed by Argo. It turns out it is not the Coen brothers’ classic, Fargo, but rather a completely new movie called Argo. If you are expecting any golden fleeces or seafaring Greeks, you will also be disappointed. Argo contains neither Argonauts nor Jasons. Just a Ben Affleck.
Fans of Ben Affleck (hereafter known as the Affleck-ted) will rejoice because lil’ Benji directs and stars. Haters of Ben Affleck will rejoice because he apparently has suffered a terrible accident, possibly a jelly-fish stinging, that has left his face 95% paralyzed. The other 5% is covered in facial hair.
What you CAN expect from Argo is snappy CIA hijinks, based-on-a-true-story nail-biting peril, and several characters who say stuff like, “Oh, your plan is to do this impossible thing to these impossible people resulting in this impossible scenario?….Okay. I’m in.” It’s the story of CIA agent Antonio Mendez (Affleck having contracted his proud new Latino heritage from ex-fiancee Jennifer Lopez) who stages a rescue mission of six American citizens from Iran during the hostage crisis of 1980, posing them as a Canadian film crew. It’s pretty awesome. It’s sort of an action movie without gunfights or car chases or shirtless testosteroiding arm veins. Oh, and people in it are smart.
Argo does a nice job of presenting a complex socio-political environment as its backdrop. It isn’t “People with brown skin who don’t speak English are just bad and evil!” The film presents a brief history that makes you understand the anti-American sentiment in Tehran in 1980, and sort of part way fathom the desperation and frustration that led things to get so crazy and out of hand. That’s a viewpoint you don’t get much as an American, so you’ve got to appreciate it when you do.
Argo is pretty impressive. It deftly combines the serious and the comedic. It’s like watching a little bird trying to fly out of the nest; It’s an absurd spectacle but there are moments where your heart skips a beat because at any moment it could be uplifting or you’re going to witness something innocent plummet to its death. It delivers the smug satisfaction of seeing Oscar-bait (instead of a movie with “4” after the title), lines that make you go, “ho ho ho, how droll,” and a riveting plot to boot. Plus, you learn a little about revolutionary Iran, so you feel like you can seem deep and informed and finally get that Persian girl in your Women’s Studies class to like you. Then, you walk out of the theater in awe of human bravery, hoping that under extreme circumstances you would have the guts to pretend you’re working on a terrible Star Wars knock-off.
I give it a big Kit up.