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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Argo  

Review: pending

Preview: written April 2013

Ben Affleck has had an interesting rollercoaster ride of a career – up into the stratosphere for both is acting and co-writing of the screenplay for Good Will Hunting with his lifelong friend Matt Damon, the follow up roles in both artier movies and blockbusters such as Armageddon and Sshakespeare in Love, and then a slide into ignominy, with Gigli at his nadir, at the height of the media attention on him and Jennifer Lopez. However subsequent to that seemingly final nail in the coffin of his career, he re-emerged as one of the most interesting current crop of American directors, with Gone, Baby Gone and The Town, and now – Argo.

Argo was a movie not just set in 1979 / 1980, but actually in a style which hearkened back to that time of moviemaking. An experiment in taking factual events and seeing both the drama and the humourous side in them. The story itself of the Americans caught up in the Iranian hostage crisis, and the elaborate scheme that was hatched to safely bring them home, using a fake movie as a cover story. It came out to rave reviews, and won 3 Oscars, including best Picture, though through some odd quirk Affleck was not nominated for Best Director, even though the movie was nominated for Best Picture. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie had a 97% positive rating. However, the movie came out amidst some controversy, amongst the praise. Historical liberties were taken, to emphasise the drama – mostly to boost the idea that the CIA did the hard work, and minimizing the key role that the Canadians had in the process, as well as inaccurately showing the British in a poor light. Indeed, The Brits and New Zealand Embassy staff did house the hostages for some time, but in agreement between the governments it was decided that the Canadian Embassy was safest.

So, thoughtful entertainment and seamless direction, or lethargic propaganda? Try it yourself, and make up your own mind.





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