Friday, October 12, 2012
Ben Affleck has proven to me that he is a true talent, and that talent, lies behind the camera.
This was the first movie I invited my boyfriend to as my plus 1. So I asked him to write the review:
GUEST BLOGGER: James Bradford
In 1979, following a lengthy period of civil unrest, militant forces in Iran seized control of the United States embassy in Tehran, taking 52 hostages. This event was widely covered in world news and the world watched as the captors made their aims and actions public. As a youth, I recall the news and daily coverage of these events, which lasted for more than a year. What the general public was unaware of at that time, was that six United States citizens successfully fled the embassy prior to the takeover under what was later referred to as the "Iranian Revolution."
The movie Argo, written by Chris Terrio and Joshuah Bearman, directed by Ben Affleck and produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and David Klawans relates the story of these six U.S. citizens' ordeal during the crisis. The movie is based on actual testimony from former C.I.A. personnel, including Antonio "Tony" Mendez (Affleck) and documents de-classified by President William J. Clinton in 1997. We witness the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in extracting these six embassy officials from the home of the Canadian ambassador in Tehran.
Ten minutes into the film, as a viewer, I was convinced that I was thrown back in time to 1979. The movie's set designers and Affleck took great care in ensuring the authenticity of the era through their brilliant use of costume design, hair styling, lighting and even furniture. The use of actual news coverage from that period really made the viewer feel as though he or she is watching it all as the events unfold.
The movie contained plenty of elements to make it interesting to the average movie-goer - suspense, action, drama, political analysis and even several doses of humor. Despite playing a Latino C.I.A. operative, Ben Affleck was convincing as the main character Tony Mendez. Additionally, Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad", "Malcolm in the Middle") and Alan Arkin, ("Little Miss Sunshine","Bad Medicine", "The In-Laws") showed their trademark skills in their respective roles. John Goodman ("Roseanne", "The Big Lebowski") showed a wide range of acting skills as actual make-up artist John Chambers (who was awarded the highest honor by the C.I.A. given to a civilian). Other notable actors were Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Victor Garber ("Titanic" and "Sweeney Todd"), Tate Donovan ("Damages" and "The O.C.") and Zeljko Ivanek ("True Blood", "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and "Law and Order").
As a viewer who looks for precise character casting, I must say all the actors cast in the various roles to play actual persons living through actual events was done with superb precision. This was demonstrated at the close of the film, during the credits, the actors' photographs were shown next to their real life counterparts.
A special thank you to my lady, Le Anne Lindsay for both her invitation to the movie premiere, the opportunity to write my thoughts about it, and her sweetness.