The Iranian people held The Americans responsible for staging a coup to instill the rule of Shah Reza Borhani in the Persian Empire. The Shah, in return pledged Iran’s oil resources to America and UK. His rule was marked by atrocities and unheard of before ruthlessness. He had his meals flown in from Paris while his wife bathed in milk. All this went on until, the Shah decided to modernize Iran which struck the death nail in the coffin of his rule. The mostly Shia population of Iran took to the streets and denounced the rule of the Shah. Old and suffering from Cancer, the Shah took asylum in the US making the Iranians even more infuriated at the US. Following their demands to return the Shah to Iran, the people marched on the US embassy and brought it down. All but six Americans were captured by the Iranians. The six took refuge in the house of the Canadian ambassador and waited for the storm to blow over. As the clock ticked and the odds increased against the Canadian embassy, the US authorities were left with no choice but to think of a way to get the six out. Argo is an honest dramatization of the events that followed. The mission was classified by the US but was later declassified by Bill Clinton in 1997 leading to the world coming to know of this unconventional yet almost comically successful operation.
Argo is a stupendous achievement. Be it in terms of direction or in acting, I couldn’t find any shortcomings in this movie, not that I was looking for any. I heard so much about it before actually watching it that I had my hopes soaring high and believe me I was not disappointed in any way. The movie has almost all the ingredients necessary to make a movie worthwhile. There is considerable drama, there is meat in the storyline, there is humor and then there is nerve-wracking tension which makes the climax one of the most intense in the recent times.
There is simplicity about the narrative and the performances, which makes it a whole lot more believable. The story of staging a fake movie to infiltrate a war ravaged country and make way with hostages is bound to have a novelty about itself and Argo has it stamped in every frame. The story may seem unbelievable to many and frankly speaking, I had questions about the intellect of the Iranians falling for a plot as thin as that. But then even the most intelligent people may fall prey to the silliest of tricks and Argo stands testimony of this very fact.
The performances by the ensemble cast are top notch. Ben Affleck helms the director’s chair and also plays the main protagonist who is given the task to retrieve the six hostages. He is a picture of perfection. He doesn’t take a single wrong step all the way through. His expressions and actions reek of confidence and total control over the character he is portraying. I loved his expressions in the intense scenes. He is bound to affect you. Alan Arkin stands out from the rest of the cast, playing a producer, who feels that if he is to make a fake film he will still make a fake hit. He seems to be aging well. His conversation with the writer of the film’s script is one of the most humorous scene of the movie, especially because of the way it ends.John Goodman is brilliant in his short role.
Argo is one of the two most talked about films of this year so far (the other being Cloud Atlas) and if one is to take my words, it deserves every bit of praise bestowed upon it. With very little glamor and snaz associated, Argo relies heavily on content, performance and direction and it excels breathtakingly in all the three areas. Watch it as soon as possible if you haven’t already.