This week the blog is being written in sunny Aberdeen the only city I have ever been to where a guy walking down the street in a skirt is not only acceptable it is actually applauded. When getting to this beautiful city I was presented with the delightful prospect of a 7 hour train journey. After crying for several hours at the prospect if dealing with the East Coast train system I happily downloaded Argo and set myself up to watch it.
Now Argo is probably the most hyped film that has ever existed. It has literally won every prize out there; best film, best Director, best Producer, best screenplay, best curry, best pasty, best home, rear of the year and the lottery. Before giving in and watching this film I had no less than 10 people tell me how I HAD to watch it and that my life would be bereft if I didn’t (like that terrible last season of Scrubs without JD in it, no purpose whatsoever).
I therefore settled down on the train, plugged my headphones in to drown out the guy behind me telling his wife how to use the stereo, and I was away. I very quickly realised that the hype was spot on, and that this is a truly superb film. Every detail of the piece has been carefully crafted and honed with more skill than Mary Berry working on her French Fancy. Ahem. When you watch the end credits you realise just how true to life this film is and this attention to detail is all to the good.
I must admit that before this film I was not Ben Affleck’s biggest fan. I loved Good Will Hunting but that was as far as my admiration for his work went. Oh how things can change. His performance is subtle, genuine and, sorry for the cliche, very real which leads me to be able to give him the greatest compliment I could, which is that I forgot it was him after about 20 minutes of the film. He obviously had a real passion for this film and this story as apparently it was 10 years in the making from original conception to shooting. This love is very much apparent. John Goodman also stars and he is back to his comedic best here with that undertone of sincerity throughout which is present in all of his films (even the magnificent King Ralph). Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the middle’s dad fame has also done pretty well of late, being brilliant in Breaking Bad and then turning in another superb performance here. Pretty good times for him really.
The main aspect of the story (watch out for spoilers here) is in regard to a group of American Embassy workers trapped in Iran in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Affleck plays a CIA operative with a skill of getting Americans out of tricky situations like this. Him smuggling these people out of Iran involves him creating a very elaborate cover story for them and this is where the finesse of the film is really apparent. The tension created is at times almost unbearable. It has you ringing and writhing around in your seat more than in the Office when David Brent does his impromptu dance. Bearing in mind that I was on a busy, loud train, I was utterly glued to the screen for the entire time that this was on. Like the guy after the first date with his dream girl, watching his phone waiting for her text, I was a bag of nerves and was making weird squeaking noises at regular intervals. I won’t say what happens at the end but it is certainly worthwhile watching this film with something’s old to clutch nearby. Calling this film nail biting would be the biggest understatement since Prince Charles called Graham Norton “slightly camp”.
If not for the tension or the performances (all of which I could write about how great they are but I don’t have that kind of time and I’m sure you have better things to be doing than reading that) then watch this film for the cinematography. The story flows and builds the tension throughout whilst massing your desire for each character to be ok, it really is just brilliant and is a master class in film making.
I therefore recommend this film very highly indeed and will give it a 9/10. I can hear you breath n sharply and go to throw your chairs through a window as you read that but I would urge you to be patient and give this film a watch so that you can see what I am banging on about. In other words, get this watched, see what the hype is about and let me know if you agree.