Saturday, October 13, 2012

Argo (2012)

Director: Ben Affleck. Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin. 120 min. Rated R. Historical/Thriller.

After a succinct illustrative 5-minute animated prologue (describing why the Iran hostage crisis really happened), Argo narrates the factual-based story of how the CIA helped 6 Americans hidden in the Canadian ambassador's home escape Iran during the crisis, under the guise of a sci-fi film crew. Affleck does a tremendous job at avoiding this becoming a propaganda-laden piece by keeping scenes showing Iranians to a minimum (rare commoners, mostly authorities), and the simulated Tehran settings are incredibly realistic, far superior to any I've ever seen. Ends in a heart-pounding climax, which apparently is significantly dramatized. No Oscar-contender, but immensely entertaining.

Mo says:


  1. I watched Argo today, FIrst of all I was amazed by the realistic set of tehran and affleck`s attention to details to that extent that I felt he has made the movie for Iranian audience. The story was pretty engaging and I dont remember to check my watch during the movie!
    I would give this move a MoMajic :) but what prevents it from getting a MoMagic by you?

  2. Dear Reza,

    Definitely agree about the movie's realism. The Tehran scenes were so well done, I thought they had filmed it partly in Iran! Maybe they had someone film some scenes there, and superimposed images of Affleck onto it.

    (Actually, Affleck said in an interview he was planning on visiting Iran for the movie, but then he was worried Americans would label him "Tehran Ben".)

    I had a problem with a few minor details. For instance, there's a scene where the Revolutionary Guards shoot a Monarchist right at the door of his home. I know hundreds or even thousands were executed by the regime, but it happened behind closed doors, and I haven't heard anyone see them doing it in the streets like a coup regime.

    Also, people are hung from cranes in Iran, but that is usually limited to drug traffikers or murderers or child molesters, not political prisoners. The movie was almost giving the impression that people are or were being executed commonly on the streets every day.

    Additionally, the maid girl had an Afghani accent. I think there must have been hundreds of Persian girls in Los Angeles who could have played that part, talking Farsi with an Iranian accent.

    And finally, I don't think there's much of a deep story going on here. It's just the story of an agent who went into Iran and plucked 6 Americans out of there. I have no doubt that the movie is incredibly well-directed, and these problems are negligable in view of the whole picture. I admire Affleck's effort for not putting the entire Iranian community in a negative light, which coming from Hollywood, is a true blessing. I just didn't think it was a masterpiece, and I'm surprised everybody is saying it's one of the ten best films of the year.

  3. محسن جان
    ایراداتی که شما اشاره کردی کاملا درست است.
    من نیز به مواردی برخوردم
    مثلا اینکه سفارت آمریکا دوبار در معرض تصرف قرار داشت که بار دوم به موفقیت انجامید بار اول توسط گروههای چپ در روزهای اول پیروزی انقلاب در حال انجام بود که با گزارش ابراهیم یزدی به رهبر وقت انقلاب و مخالفت ایشان ناموفق ماند. بار دوم در آبان 58 اتفاق افتاد توسط دانشجویان مسلمان پیرو خط امام که این بار با حمایت رهبر مواجه شد فیلم ظاهرا مورد دوم را به تصویر کشیده ولی زمانی را که تصویر کرده بیشتر شبیه روزها و ماههای اول پیروزی انقلاب است از جمله حضور بیش از حدپررنگ کمیته و پاسداران در خیابانها و نیز برخی آرمهای شیر و خورشید دوره پهلوی
    دیگر اینکه یادم هست حتی در روزها و ماههای اول پس از انقلاب هر نمادی از تاج پهلوی از بین برده می شد آن وقت چگونه هنوز روی کلاه برخی افسران فرودگاه ارم تاج پهلوی وجود دارد؟
    نکته دیگر اینکه دار زدن حتی برای قاچاقچیان در ان روزها با جرثقیل و در خیابان انجام نمی شد و این مربوط به سالهای بعد است در آن دوره فقط تیرباران می کردند و آن هم نه در ملا عام بلکه در زندانها
    نمای ماشین آتش گرفته نیز مربوط به آن دوره نیست زیرا انقلاب پیروز شده بود و نیازی به ماشین آتش زدن نبود
    نکته تاریخی اشتباه هم این بود که مصدق را مردم انتخاب نکردند زیرا اصولا مردم نخست وزیر را انتخاب نمی کردند بلکه مجلس به شاه پیشنهاد می داد و شاه حکم صادر می کرد
    موردی که شما اشاره کردی در مورد گلوله زدن و کشتن آن فردی که کراوات داشت و حالا معلوم نبود از رژیم سابق بود یا چیز دیگر در جلوی در منزلش نیز یک اشتباه دیگر این فیلم بود زیرا به این صورت معمولا انجام نمی شد
    گفتن سلام به جای خداحافظ نیز اشتباه دیگر بود
    ولی علیرغم تمامی این موارد مجموعا فیلم خوبی بود و خوب پرداخت شده بود و داستان نسبتا منسجم و پرتعلیقی داشت و از نظر فیلم برداری و کارگردانی و بازی بازیگرها به نظرم خوب بود
    نکته خوب و درستی که داشت آن بود که جو رعب و وحشت دهه اول انقلاب را به خوبی تداعی می کرد و برای ما که در آن دوره زندگی کرده ایم کاملا باورپذیر می نمود

  4. سلام شهریار جان

    نکات بسیار جالبی نوشته بودی. من به برخی از ایراداتی که گفتی اصلا دقت نکرده بودم. ولی جالب اینکه با تمام این ایرادات همه ما از فیلم لذت بردیم.

    این خودش دوباره همون قدرت سینما رو مطرح می کنه: که با وجود اینکه ما ایرانی ها از همه بیشتر در مورد صحت تاریخی و جوی این فیلم صاحب نظر هستیم، و با وجود اینکه این همه ایراد در جزئیات فیلم دیدیم، اما همچنان از فیلم لذت بردیم. دلیلش رو به این موضوع نسبت می دم که تماشاگر خیلی سریع در همون ابتدا "فیلم خوب" رو تشخیص می ده، و آدم "دوست داره" در رویای یک فیلم خوب غرق بشه - لذا براحتی حاضره از ایرادات فیلم چشم پوشی کنه تا لذتی که داره می بره ضایع نشه. این یک خواست غریزی آدمهاست که باعث موفقیت بسیاری از فیلمهای پرایراد و شکست بسیاری از فیلمهای کم ایراد می شه، و همون خواست غریزیه که به مفهوم "دراماتیزه" کردن وقایع تاریخی اعتبار می ده. واقعا چه فرقی داره داستان لورنس عربستان به اون شکلی که دیوید لین تصویر کرده اتفاق افتاده باشه یا نه؟ فقط صحبت از سینماست، فقط شما کافیه بتونی با تماشاگرت ارتباط برقرار کنی - بقیه اش حله.

  5. I really enjoyed this movie and although there were obviously liberties taken with the facts to make the movie more tense and enjoyable I don't mind at all. I can understand why it didn't earn a "Mo Magic" and if I was rating it out of 5 it would only get a 4. I just watched it last night but have already recommended it to a friend.
    I remember the news being dominated by Iran when I was 16/17, I wasn't that interested at the time but now the whole thing seems fascinating. I will be looking out for Affleck's next stint in the directors chair.

  6. Toast,

    Agree about Affleck. Interesting how this guy keeps reinventing himself: First winning an Oscar as a screenwriter, then resorting to (and failing at) acting, and now flourishing as a very credible director. He's become one that I'm interesting in seeing his new movies, whatever they are about.

    BTW, check out this early pre-Oscars article. I just don't understand why this one movie is being hyped about so much:

  7. It's a great film but "Best Picture"? Surely not.

  8. Another gaffe that I just noticed: small children were given the task of putting together the shredded documents. This is either a compliment to Iranian kids that they can solve such complex puzzles, or more likely a misinterpretation of the word "student", because although the English translation of the group who reconstructed the shredded documents was "student followers of the path of the Imam", they probably didn't know that in Farsi different words are used for school students ("danesh-amooz") vs. college students ("danesh-joo"), and that the group who did this were of the latter.

    Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and my favorite new expletive is "Argo f--- yourself!"

  9. Exactly. They go that part wrong, but again, they got its essence right. The many brainwashing ideological teachings we had in elementary school (attempting to create a sort of "Hitler's youth" out of kids who were too young to know better) wasn't far from the working children pictured in the movie.

    And exactly again: whoever asks me (before seeing the movie) why they named the film "Argo", that quote comes straight to mind. I think it'll go down in movie history as famous as the likes of "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf---er", or "I have had it with these motherf---ing snakes on this motherf---ing plane!".