The common verdict seems to be that Ben Affleck is now three-for-three with his directorial efforts. Though I can’t speak for Gone Baby Gone, The Town is definitely one of my top picks from 2010 and a personal favorite. Now imagine my excitement when Blu-ray.com, a website every bit as informative as they are off in their verdicts of new releases, gave the film a perfect 10. Between that and some equally impressed reviews from other everyday reviewers I (don’t) know and trust and we have an excited little boy biking to his local theater.
Argo sets the stage with a brief but encompassing introduction so you’re not totally lost when going in. I say this because, like so many other Oscar-hyped films, I was probably the only person in my theater under 60 years of age. You have any idea how awkward and alienating it is to be the 22 year-old in that situation? It’s weird as hell.
After our informal introduction things kick into gear with protesting in the streets which essentially leads to six people hiding in Iran with a Canadian. And South Park would have you believe Canada have done nothing important; Matt and Trey might need a new history book for an upcoming apology episode. Cut to America and we have Ben Affleck playing Tony Mendez, who gets the brilliant bad idea to make a fake movie so the six escapees can, well, escape. Again.
This is a movie that almost comes off like you need to pay more attention to it than is necessary. The film is fundamentally a suspense thriller with the occasional political and social commentary. But if that’s not your thing PLEASE don’t be turned off, because these are more supplementary to the plot at-hand. To that degree this is a very solid film, one that knows when to step outside of the story and when to return. Tension rides high, much like The Town, and the climax definitely keeps you on-edge. Characters are also detailed to just the right degree which, given the two-hour runtime, is saying quite a lot when you have almost a dozen people to follow. The real standouts, however, are Ben Affleck and the irresistibly entertaining Alan Arkin, who almost feels like stark contrasts of each other.
Now there has been A LOT of Oscar hype behind this movie with critical acclaim to boot. As you can tell, I’m definitely in the fan crowd for this movie. But as far as being the best movie of the year I have to raise up my hands and say “whoa, let’s back up for a moment.” Argo is definitely another strong offering for 2012 and proof that this has been a fantastic year for film, but I wouldn’t say it’s contending for my Top Film spot of 2012. Heck, I wouldn’t even place it on-par with The Town. Like I said, this is solid, satisfying entertainment in the way a more or less gritty suspense film should be. Definitely well made and a Best Director nomination should at least be a guarantee here. Just don’t expect this to crack my Top 5 of the year if the movies I still haven’t seen are as good as I expect.