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Review: 'Argo' is a tense, nerve-racking film

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2:45 pm

The 2012 drama Argo is a taut and brilliant thriller filled with smart writing, crisp editing and masterful direction from the film's greatest strength, director Ben Affleck.

Based around the Iran hostage crisis of 1980, Argo is the true story of six Americans who barely escape the United States embassy after being overrun by an army of enraged Iranian rioters.

After escaping, the Americans take refuge inside Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor’s (Victor Garber, Titanic) house. They remain stuck there for two years before CIA operative Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting) hatches a plan to get them out: Disguise the Americans as a film crew scouting for shooting locations.

Being no small fry to directing experience (Gone Baby Gone and The Town), Affleck shows he is indeed a serious filmmaker with this movie being the best he's ever made.

For example, the use of suspense and tension puts the audience in the middle of chaos through a tense, horrifying opening shot.

The excitement doesn't let up, either. The audience is immersed in the movie's environment. But thankfully, the movie also knows how to balance its drama with humor.

Two essential roles in this movie help achieve this: John Goodman (Roseanne) as makeup artist John Chambers, and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) as movie producer Lester Siegel. This duo argues and bickers over the smallest, funniest details.

For example, in one scene, the duo argues over the quality of the fake movie script being made. “We’re making a fake movie here,” says Chambers. “If we’re making a fake movie, I want it to be a fake hit,” replies Siegel.

Real moments like this help transcend Argo from a movie to an experience. The movie will keep you at the edge of your seat, cringing, waiting, teeth chattering and spine tingling with every tense moment of the film pulsating through your entire body.

The film's great spirit for humanity has helped rake in several awards and accolades, including Best Adapted Screenplay with the Writers Guild of America, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Best Director and Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, as well seven Academy Award nominations.

Without a doubt, Argo, is one of — if not the best — drama film of the year.  

@dDUnn87 

davidadunn@mavs.uta.edu

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