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Argo
GK Films/Warner Bros. Pictures, 2012
Directed by Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, The Town)
Based on the true story published as The Master of Disguise by Tony Mendez and The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman
Running Time: 120 minutes
Rated R for violence and profanity.



Cast
Ben Affleck (Daredevil, Gigli) as Tony Mendez
Bryan Cranston (Walter White in Breaking Bad, Isamu in Macross Plus) as Jack O'Donnell
Alan Arkin (Bill in Edward Scissorhands, Det. Hugo in Gattaca) as Lester Siegel
John Goodman (Fred in The Flintstones, Pops in Speed Racer) as John Chambers
Clea DuVall (Bashira in Ghosts of Mars, Jennifer in The Grudge) as Cora Lijek
Christopher Denham as Mark Lijek
Tate Donovan (Hercules in Kingdom Hearts) as Robert Anders
Rory Cochrane (Charles in A Scanner Darkly) as Lee Schatz
Scoot McNairy as Joseph Stafford
Kerry Bishé (Lucy in Scrubs) as Kathy Stafford
Kyle Chandler (Deputy Lamb in Super 8) as Hamilton Jordan
Victor Garber (Thomas Andrews in Titanic) as Kenneth D. Taylor

Synopsis
During the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis, six Americans escape from the U.S. embassy before it is taken over by Islamist students and militants. They are given shelter at the Canadian embassy, but time is running out for them, as the Iranian government is close to locating their whereabouts. CIA operative Tony Mendez initiates an unusual rescue operation with the cooperation of the Canadian government, which involves sneaking into Iran and disguising the six Americans as a Canadian film crew for a phony science-fiction movie.

Lowdown
With all six Americans rescued and no casualties reported, the so-called "Canadian Caper" is a very unorthodox, but excellent example of how to conduct a rescue operation in a hostile environment. This film, based on the declassified CIA operation, captures the feel of the late-1970s from the gritty film texture to the '70s Warner Bros. logo to the deteriorated Hollywood sign (which was actually restored before the Iranian Revolution occurred). The music even features classic '70s rock from Van Halen and Led Zeppelin (plus Aerosmith, if you count the trailer). Only Ben Affleck himself sticks out like a sore thumb in the film, as he tries too hard to look like the '70s. He doesn't even look like the real Tony Mendez, for crying out loud.

Despite that one flaw, Affleck does a wonderful job directing Argo, as he manages to build tension between all of the characters involved. We even get to see how politics are done in Hollywood, with excellent performances by Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman. One would find it hard to believe that someone actually funded casting production and advertising for a bogus movie. But in the end, the operation ended well as planned, unlike the failed Operation Eagle Claw.

It's too bad the Argo movie was a complete fake. Still, it would've made a far better movie than Twilight.

"Argo f*ck yourself."

Rating: A-

Links
Official Argo Homepage

References
The Internet Movie Database
Wikipedia

Edited by areaseven
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These damned misleading movie titles just piss me off....

when I first heard snippets about an upcoming movie "called Argo, with a fictional sci-fi film backdrop", I wondered fleetingly: Oh cool--does this mean we'll finally get to see a live action version of Starblazers? :p

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These damned misleading movie titles just piss me off....

when I first heard snippets about an upcoming movie "called Argo, with a fictional sci-fi film backdrop", I wondered fleetingly: Oh cool--does this mean we'll finally get to see a live action version of Starblazers? :p

Same here! :D

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I thought the fact that you know how it's going to end, and you know nothing very dramatic can happen while the movie claims to be a true tale sort of hamstrung it. It was well acted and shot, I suppose, but boring. And I like slow boring movies...but this movie literally couldn't do anything to surprise you.

Also, a waste of Arkin and Goodman.

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These damned misleading movie titles just piss me off....

when I first heard snippets about an upcoming movie "called Argo, with a fictional sci-fi film backdrop", I wondered fleetingly: Oh cool--does this mean we'll finally get to see a live action version of Starblazers? :p

Erm... What do you mean "finally"? We just got one.

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I thought the fact that you know how it's going to end, and you know nothing very dramatic can happen while the movie claims to be a true tale sort of hamstrung it.

The most exciting move I ever saw was "Apollo 13", and I knew exactly how that would turn out. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks were at the top of their game with that movie though. Have not seen Argo (and probably will not till it comes out on DVD since the wife is out of work now)

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Erm... What do you mean "finally"? We just got one.

No slight intended to the original. I just meant the prerequisite, bastardized western version (but I guess that would be: Battleship?). Admittedly: if it weren't for the internet, we Yanks would never know the L/A Yamato ever even existed...

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  • 2 months later...

In one of the most shocking upsets in Golden Globe Awards history, Argo defeated Lincoln in the categories of "Best Motion Picture - Drama" and "Best Director - Motion Picture."

Also, since the Django Unchained thread has been locked up, I'll just announce here that Christophe Waltz took home the "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role" award.

2013 Golden Globe Awards Winners

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  • 1 month later...

Argo repeats its upset victory over Lincoln at the 85th Academy Awards by bagging the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

And again, since the Django Unchained thread has been shackled, I'll just post here that Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor and Quentin Tarantino won Best Writing - Original Screenplay.

85th Academy Award Winners

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I've seen both Argo and Lincoln and I definitely agree with it winning over Lincoln. It was paced really well and everything was great about it.

I love me some Christoph Waltz though so I'm thrilled he won :wub:

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Lincoln was good but Daniel Day Lewis clearly carried the movie for me and I've been a fan of his for a long time. Spielberg is ehhhh...I like his movies but Argo was better by far. Who were the other runner ups? Django (loved it)?

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Bah. Canada got shafted in that movie. Way to rewrite history, Hollywood *grumble*.

What? Did you miss the part that the Canadian Ambassador, his wife and their staff risked their life to keep those people alive, as accounted by the CIA agent involved? And then Canada took the heat so not to involve the US which would result in a retaliation that would most likely involve the hostages still in Iran? Not to be political here... I'm just trying to make sure we saw the same movie.

And please, no political talk unless it directly involves the plot. As in comparisons to what really happened. No justifications or anything that would turn this into a political debate thread.

Anyway... this seemed like it would be a difficult movie to make. I mean not to make light of the situation, I'm sure it was gut wrenching for everyone involved in the real life event, but for the most part it seemed like in the true story, almost everything went as planned. The premise is really what makes it sound fantastic. There's 2 events that made the movie really pump up the stress level and that's the walk thru the strip and the escape all the way thru the airport. I'm unsure about the first thing but I'm almost 100% certain that the last part was elaborated way out of the ball park. I'm not complaining at all, I was into it. And this is why I think Affleck truly deserves the win. He really made the audience feel the panic and anxiety without adding in obligatory fake shoot outs or even avoiding the refugees try to kill each other in the house. I don't know if I would watch it again though. I'm about to watch a documentary about it.

Also, Alan Arkin gets better everytime he's on screen. Likable in the Rocketeer, great in Little Miss Sunshine and really good in this movie.

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oh, they did get screwed then... lol. But the movie didn't make the US Government shine either. I think the Canadians still came out ahead. Anyway... gonna watch the doc to learn and compare.

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The UK and New Zealand are pissed as well. It's been reported that in real life, the UK embassy sheltered the six refugees at first, but the location was deemed unsafe and the refugees moved to the Canadian embassy. Also, the New Zealand embassy provided them with food and a safe house, as well as transportation to the airport. The movie claims that the refugees were turned away by the two embassies.

NZ's Role in Iran Crisis Tainted in Affleck's Film Argo

Ben Affleck's New Film Argo Upsets British Diplomats Who Helped the Americans in Iran

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In real life, almost everything was done by the canadians. They were involved in planning out the op, staked out the airport and bought the tickets. The movie also pretty much invented the entire 3rd act.

Pretty much but from a film making standpoint, it did so much right with building suspense I'm willing to forgive a lot of the inaccuracies.

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OK from the 42 minute documentary I just watched they didn't mention Canada as part of the ops. They did mention that they had to get full cooperation from the Canada as far as getting passports and backing up the story. The CIA ops went there to brief them and get approval of what was to take place.

They did mention the UK embassy specifically. They said that there were a couple of consulates that chose to head for the UK Embassy and those people were eventually turned back to the American Embassy, but the six went straight to the Canadian embassy. This was from one of the refugees' interview so it was first hand account. No mention of NZ.

There were a couple of great points that weren't included in the film. Maybe they were shot and left on the cutting room floor, but it would have added to the story and suspense if they used them.

A couple of changes from actual events to the movie:

  • Tony Mendez had a partner. I suspect that he was left out because he's still in active duty because they didn't give his real name and they even hid the actor's face from the dramatization.
  • The refugees were moved from house to house. This could be what happened to the New Zealand part of the story. I'm suspecting that they cropped that part of the story to streamline it. I mean, moving them could have replaced the scene in the Bazaar but I think it had more impact and more suspensful to actually have it to do something with the moviemaking storyline. Location scouting was never mentioned.
  • No maid in the house. Could have happened but was never mentioned.
  • Of course the final chase never happened. Seemed obvious.
  • There were repeated calls by the Iranian intelligence to the Canadian Embassy asking for the six missing consulates.
  • The Iranians welcomed the idea of having a film crew there to stimulate tourism and to show the world that they were still a stable economy. They were under little or no suspicion.

Again this was just a 42 minute documentary for Discovery but I'm guessing that Canada's involvement with actual ops was portrayed well enough, I'm not saying it's accurate. But the fact that they were given full credit at first may lead people to believe that they had more to do with it. Though from the statements by the people involved it was Tony that bought that tickets (he bought two sets) and nothing was mentioned about staking out the airports. They did represent the fact that knowing the ins and outs of almost all international airports' routines was part of their jobs. I do still think that Canada's involvement wasn't reduced, to me it came across pretty well that the Canadians stuck they're neck out for six Americans.

Affleck still deserves that Oscar. Like I said, the ops went a lot smoother than represented, but I think it did well to show the anxiety these people were going thru and the danger they were in if discovered.

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Pretty much but from a film making standpoint, it did so much right with building suspense I'm willing to forgive a lot of the inaccuracies.

Under normal circumstances, I'd agree with you. "Just roll with it if it's good watching" being a personal mantra of mine. But I have too much national pride to just let this one slide :p

Canada sucks.

...I kid ;)

... *autotarget orbiting laser*... :p

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Forgot to mention one more thing... the production office was full of people that could have answered any calls. In fact, they were entertaining pitches from writers and producers for other scripts while the whole mission was going down just to keep up the ruse

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I'm just gonna say, it was a movie that dramatized real-life events. I'm sure creative liberties were taken. Otherwise, no one would go to the theater to watch suspense and drama.

Congrats to Argo.

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