peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2012 10 30 Argo


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Another cheap Tuesday at The Ritz. Cinema 3 was packed at 7pm, with (untimely) people having to sit in the third row (one in front of me), and yet they strangely respected most other (timely) customers' sight lines. Also there was not a lot of talking, which was surprising given the gaps in this dialogue-heavy docu-thriller.

Affleck is in the process of showing that he is a much better director than actor. Here he again casts himself in the lead, like The Town and unlike Gone Baby Gone. I thought his impassivity was pretty much spot-on as it amplified the tension radiating from the government functionaries, and he generously gave some quite funny lines to the movie makers.

As with his earlier features he has a cracker of a story to tell. Unfortunately the film sags at the two-thirds / three-quarters mark when reality is sacrificed to stock Hollywoodism. The American ending was inevitable, I guess. I liked the homage (montage?) over the credits and the various markers of the 1970s, such as the decayed Hollywood sign. I didn't like the hurry-hurry camerawork so much.

Afterwards I got wondering if this was Ben Affleck's response to Team America; perhaps he did go to acting school, and just maybe actoring had that kind of impact on world affairs. It might be that he is crafting a series of these movies, showing Hollywood mending the Vietnam vets throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, explaining the Contra scandal to those born after it, and burnishing Jimmy Carter's peacenik-ery. In any case I still haven't seen Pearl Harbour.

I agree with Dana Stevens about the portrayal of the Persians; there were some nice touches in the small, such as the young security geeks at the airport talking about the storyboards, but most men were crazed zealots with guns. The New York Times review is spot on too.