‘ARGO **** Yourself’ Featured

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Fresh off its Best Picture win at the OSCARs and BAFTAs, Ben Affleck’s Argo has been released to a surge of rave reviews and a lot of criticism. The thriller, based on true historical events, is a film that focuses on pure, excellent narrative, rather than sensational, stomach churning action. The film surprised me with its light and classic comedic portrayals, and its fluid movement between the light and brassy Hollywood to the cold and detached Iran. 

However, for all its cinematic excellence, both Iran and Canada are less than pleased. The portrayal of the Iranian hostage crisis has been criticized by the Tehran and the Iranian government, who are reportedly planning to sue Hollywood. And whilst the film is based on the true events of what is now known as the ‘Canadian Caper’, Canada has claimed that their roles have been snubbed in a predictable glorification of the CIA.

Affleck’s altered postscript at the end of his acclaimed film is apparently not enough, and the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, who sheltered and helped the six hostages when no one else would, has stated the Canadians look as though they ‘were just along for the ride’. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, whose famous speech plays as the credits roll, has also commented that whilst he enjoys the film, ‘the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor’. 

Argo is a tense, ‘angsty’ film that fulfilled all the qualities that a thriller should have, without any of the gunfire or explosions so many typical thrillers have today. Affleck is gritty, committed and has excelled in his roles as both the star and the director, with some awarding him the esteemed title ‘the next Clint Eastwood’. The film may have manipulated the truth, but it is done so for pure cinematic value and I’ve yet to hear of a viewer who was left disappointed with the quality of the narrative and the acting. 

In spite of the criticism and the controversy, Affleck has succeeded in creating a strong political thriller that left me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the seams of the plans to fall apart. 

Amelia Sweeney

I'm an English Lit and Greek Civilisation student at the University of Leeds and I am a complete self-confessed film and book fanatic.

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