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Discussion Thursday: Film – Argo

Discussion Thursday: Film – Argo

Discussion Thursday – It’s Back!!!

*shifty eyes* What? Yeah I know it’s been a while!

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Title: Argo

Director: Ben Affleck

Premise: A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.  The mission was declassified back in 1997 as 1 of the 50 missions to showcase for the 50th Anniversary of the CIA.  The book was written, highlighting Tony Mendez, Lester Siegel, and John Chambers and their roles in the rescue.   And in typical Hollywood fashion a movie had to be made about the fake movie ….

I was first introduced to this film because Rory Cochrane was attached to it.

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Considering I was 5 years old when this even took place, I have very little memories of the actually Iran Hostage Controversy.  I knew probably just enough to get myself into trouble.  So I went into this movie with open eyes and hoping to learn something.

I give Ben Affleck credit for laying out the history of why the situation happened.  He didn’t pull punches, or sugarcoat the situation.  The mix of real footage with film footage put the audience in the moment.

The key to really enjoying the film is this: The story isn’t about the hostage situations. It’s not about the six that hid out at the Canadian Embassy.  The story is about Tony Mendez working with Hollywood to build a fake movie to rescue the six Americans.

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There is no doubt in my mind why this film won so many awards.  Everything about it is good.  Affleck is finally coming into his own as a Director.  The cast was superb from Snarky comments from Alan Arkin ‘IF I’m going to make a fake film it will be a fake hit’ or John Goodman’s ‘so you want to come into hollywood and act a big shot but not doing anything? You’ll fit right in’.

The emotions shown from the six Americans had the audience on the edge of the seat, especially as they moved through the airport.  Logically your brain knew they got out.  It’s historical fact, but you were still gripping the edge of the seat mentally urging them onward.

The one scene that sits with me the most is when ‘Hollywood’ is doing a reading of the Argo script to hype it enough to make everyone believe this was a real movie not a CIA mission.  It’s mixed in with the very real press releases from Iran declaring the hostages as spies and seeing the hostages dragged into the basement to be shot.  The fake glitz of Hollywood mixed in with the harsh reality – was beautifully shot.

Controversy: Cause every film has to have some.

The two controversies that came out of this film – Besides the snubbing at the Oscars for Best Director – cause dude really? Moving On….

The Canadian Ambassador has complained loudly that there isn’t enough mention of what the Canadians did.  Okay – until 1997 the history books praised the Canadians for saving the six Americans.  And you know they deserve all the praise and glory.  They were the ones who took the six in, when the UK and Australia Embassies turned them away.  They put their life in jeopardy to hide them, and are heroes for doing so.  BUT… The movie isn’t about that.  It’s not about the six Americans.  It’s about ‘Argo’ the best bad idea of bad ideas to get these guys out.  It’s about how a CIA operative manipulated Hollywood into thinking they were making a film.

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Iran is pissed as fucking hell over this movie.  Yeah I can see why, I mean the fact that the CIA snuck in and walked six Americans through the airport and out of the country under their noses – yeah that’s embarrassing   Earlier I had stated that this film didn’t hold back.  They showed the history that lead to the hostage situation, they didn’t sugarcoat the fact the US/UK were manipulating events.  They also didn’t sugarcoat that Iran was pissed and the fuse was lit.  So they didn’t like how they were portrayed and now want to sue the filmakers.  The thing here is – there are still 52 Americans that were taken hostage and never saw justice for that moment… So they are upset that the movie makes them look bad – yet do not acknowledge the fact they raided an Embassy which is equivalent of attacking the country and took hostages – tried and convicted them as Spies.  So dudes you don’t get to sue over a movie when you’re not acknowledging why the movie was made in the first place.

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Discussion:

Anyone see it?  Did you even know Rory was in the film or was he well disguised behind that mustache?! What did you think of the film? Like, Hate, or Not really your thing? Let’s discuss!

 

13 Comments

  1. Jensen

    This movie has been on my “want to see” list since it first came out simply because it looked interesting. I just never got to the theater (especially since the closest theater kept putting it at 9 or 10pm). It is now on my “rent from iTunes” list.

  2. Moreithel

    I didn’t get to see it at first, it passed through the cinema so fast. But when it won the Oscar (and I won two tickets thanks to that!), and they gave it another week.

    I KNEW what was going to happen, but I was on the edge of the seat from the start, and I had to bite my tongue a lot of times to stop myself from yelling “move faster! they’re onto you!”

    But I loved it. It was fast paced, and like you said, about ARGO, not the political aspect of all.

    It’s already on my Amazon wishlist 😉

    1. Bj Jones

      It was one of the few movies I bought the moment it came out on DVD.

      The one thing I loved when it did come out – The Variety re-released their Cover, Ads and articles for Argo – which was interesting to see.

  3. I did see it in the theatre, and will happily admit I went for Rory 😉 Don’t remember much about the actual event, it was background noise, I was young (and not American). Found it very interesting slow to begin with, but it was important to fully understand the story… Bound for my DVD shelf.

    Loved it!

    And the history and makes you wonder what other stories there are that we don’t know about and all the unknown hero’s that go quietly about their business that helps keep our world safe.

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