Rating: 3.5 of 5
Argo is one of those hard movies to analyze because a lot of things were really well done without having a significant impact, at least on me.
Everyone always raves about period pieces – the dramatic costumes, the make up or sets or whatever it takes to make us believe we’re in that era. They don’t pay as much attention when it’s only 30 years ago but the level of detail and authenticity that goes into a slightly historic movie, I think, is almost more impressive. Because it’s so close to us in time it’s easy to take things for granted. Cars were different and phones were different and people thought differently about time and problems. For me Argo’s greatest strength is its authenticity, not only to the time period but to the texture of the world back then.
The plot is definitely interesting, but its pretty much handed to you in the trailer. In the beginning some of the political discussions were a little too fast and I don’t get the allusions in politics the way I get the Hollywood terms so I know there were things I didn’t follow. But it didn’t hurt the story because why didn’t matter so much as just knowing what was going on. And, again, I knew that from the trailer. What gives the writing its strength is the unexpected humor; especially the Hollywood jokes which were really funny.
The acting was all so solid that it was almost unnoticeable. These people were these characters, seamlessly. I didn’t love them all but they were real people in a very real situation and there wasn’t a false moment anywhere.
The trouble isn’t that Argo is a poorly made movie from any angle; it’s that I sort of didn’t care. I wasn’t invested emotionally in these 6 people surviving. I didn’t get to know them. I got to know Ben Affleck mostly and I had enough of a connection that I wanted his character to be successful. But that’s very different than wanting these other people to survive. I liked the Hollywood guys a lot. If they were suddenly kidnapped I would have cared. But I didn’t root for the people actually in danger. I knew from the trailer how it was going to end and they never took the time to make me care about them as individuals; to care about her because I liked her or latch onto him because he made me laugh or… I never needed these people to be safe, I just hoped they didn’t die without every worrying that they really might.
And it’s not that it’s not a dramatic film. Ben Affleck as the director keeps the tension ramped up again and again until the last second and it’s well done. I recognize that this story was well executed, but I wasn’t affected by it.