Film: Argo could be Oscar contender
October 19th, 2012
Omaha, NE – Does the early Oscar race officially have its first front-runner? From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Argo.
Ryan: It was a time of oversized glasses and mustaches, when tension with Iran was on everyone’s mind.
Matt: What is “Last week at a hipster dive bar with MSNBC on the television?”
Ryan: I’m not playing some kind of weird Jeopardy with you, I’m describing the setting for Argo.
Matt: Here, let me do that for you. Set in 1979 in the wake of the American Embassy in Iran being stormed, six Americans escape to the house of the Canadian Ambassador. In order to get them out, CIA Agent Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, creates an elaborate cover story that involves a fake Canadian movie studio making a fake science fiction movie scouting locations in Iran.
Ryan: Based on a true story…
Matt: This was based on a true story?
Ryan: Yes, you didn’t see that listed on screen at the beginning of the movie?
Matt: I pay as much attention to on-screen text as one-way street signs.
Ryan: Complete with great comedic turns by John Goodman and Alan Arkin as two Hollywood insiders who help Tony get things set up, Argo is a great blend of genuine suspense, tightly-wound intrigue, and tension-breaking lighter moments.
Matt: Affleck, who also directed the film, manages to keep audiences enthralled, even if they have already done the requisite Google search to find out how this thing really ended. The bubbling fear of the escaped Americans and the breakneck speed with which this plan has to come together combine to whip viewers into a historically inspired frenzy.
Ryan: It’s great. It really is. From the lithe, brilliant synopsis of the source of Iran/U.S. tension that plays out over the opening credits all the way to the clearly somewhat more liberally interpreted final escape, everything just moves together so well. That said, and this is not a complaint, Argo probably won’t be many people’s best film of the year.
Matt: Oh, I see. It’s just really well directed, really well acted, really well written, and really well edited. It’s just not the best film of the year.
Ryan: Right. As much as it’s a great throwback to the 1970s movies of someone like Sidney Lumet, it doesn’t break new ground or stand out as more than just an awesome work of historical action. That said, I think it wins best picture.
Matt: You normally confuse me but this week I think you’re doing it on purpose.
Ryan: Hear me out: I don’t think ANYONE will have Argo as their top choice. I think EVERYBODY will have it in their top 5. And traditionally, that is the movie that wins best picture.
Matt: Whatever. I just know that it’s really good.
Ryan: It is, and for that reason alone, to politely change a quote from the movie, everyone should “Argo see it for themselves.”
Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.
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