Almost, Argo. Almost.
Finally managed to sneak a date night with my wife into the hellacious firestorm that is my schedule. We’d missed Argo when it first came around, so I was happy to see it back at one of the hipper theaters in the area.
In summary: Flawed, but overall enjoyable — and not a waste of theater admission. I’m glad I didn’t wait for Netflix.
First thought: This Affleck kid’s gonna make a name for himself, someday.
Second thought: Have the screenwriter flogged in the square and then confiscate his writing utensils for a month.
Seriously, I think Mr. Affleck did a remarkably good job with some flawed material, but there were times when he let the material get the better of him. Directing is about choices, and I don’t think he always made the right ones. The “family drama” aspect of Affleck’s CIA operative, in particular, seemed tacked on and rather inconsequential. The only real moving moment out of that particular bit of story was watching Mendez (Affleck) drop a belated birthday postcard in the mail just before boarding the plan for Iran. The “I might not be coming back,” implied in the message was an effective way of getting across the level of danger he was walking into. But I think the movie would have been better served without ever seeing estranged wife and son. And without the reunion at the end (yes, I know he got back with his family in real life), which seemed out of place with the remainder of the film, and which just failed to make me feel anything.
Some of the historical liberties taken in order to “thrillify” the story were also just a bit over the top.
But I liked the way Affleck makes you feel the tension and terror of the time. The look of everything was spot on. There were moments in the initial scenes when the mob storms the embassy where I wasn’t sure if they hadn’t cleaned up some old news footage and cut it in.
The casting was perfect. I especially liked that the “name” actors performed on the periphery, and that they went for actors who looked the part for the six refugees. There was not a bad performance in the lot.
Does it deserve a best picture nomination? Yeah, I think so. Will it win? No. Lincoln was a far better movie, overall.
Did Affleck get snubbed? I don’t think so. It’s a remarkable effort, but it’s just not all the way there.