Thursday, November 01, 2012

argo [2012]

anna and i went to the movies.  not a big thing?  we've not been to the theaters in a long, long time.  anna's mother recommended this flick.  told us that even tho we knows how the movie will end the narrative will have you on edge of your seat. 

no small task, that.  anna's mom was absolutely correct.  what a flashback for us.  the era, 1979 - 1980, was vividly realized from the eyewear, the clothes, the booze, the cigarettes, the decor, the cars.  ben affleck directed this wonderful movie with all the thrills of riding a roller coaster.  what in reality, getting six americans who escaped the takeover of the u.s. embassy in tehran, iran during their revolution out of the country under the pretext of a film company who wants to use tehran as the location of their cheap-jack sci-fi movie, was full of risk but probably went down in a much boring fashion, is changed into a breathtaking thrill ride. 

the idea of film production as a beard was so crazy it had to work.  besides, the history of exploitation cinema does boast some stories of movies made in despotic countries because the locations were dirt cheap.  for example, check out this trailer for a documentary on filmmaking in the philippines in the 1970s.

making a movie in iran during their revolution. . .well, why not.  except that this production company was a beard to rescue a half dozen foreign service personnel who took refuge in the canadian embassy.  failure for them, the cia agent who led the six out of iran, played by affleck, to the six themselves, as well as the canadian ambassador and his wife meant imprisonment, torture and possible execution.  the stakes were that high.

but it was the verisimilitude that had me gasping for breath.  aflleck and co. were so good that when the credits ran side by side pics of the actors and the real people who suffered thru that crazy time it looked like photographs of twins.  the actors and the subjects were just that close in appearance the effect was astonishing.  and when the cia agent returns home to the bedroom of his son the decorations of that room had me taking deep breaths.  not only did a recognize the star wars bed sheets and toys.  i had those same ones!  the footage of the real embassy takeover and the recreated takeover are nearly indistinguishable. 

mindboggling.  sure.  i remember that time because i was a child of that time.  affleck's storytelling is near perfect.  not a false step or wasted moment.  not a frame wasted.  the actors were spot on.  there was never a superhero moment.  each person was believable as an authentic person.  flaws and all. 

oh, and even if the trailers for new releases were all action flicks, blood, violence and explosions [including the trailer for a remake of the cold war era red dawn [1984]], affleck's film had not one drop of blood contained within its frames.  there were some bullets, a few bodies, and a mock execution, but nothing extraneous outside of the needs of this particular story.  and no explosions.  perhaps this movie can be described as the thinking person's action film.  whatever the case it is an awesome bit of storytelling. 


Post a Comment

<< Home