I love those times when everything just seems to go your way. That was the case for AK and I last night when we saw Argo at Event Cinemas Carindale. We decided pretty last-minute and bought Gold Class tickets online 30 minutes before the session started. We scored a perfect park despite late-night shopping and got to burn an arrogant staff member when he rudely told us we needed to line up at his counter. No buddy, we’re going to Gold Class!
We were the only people in the Gold Class lounge and were outnumbered by staff at least five to one. The girls at the counter were just learning how to use the register and we soon found out they hadn’t even been open 24 hours. For the inconvenience of no alcohol and L-plate staff, we were given half-price tickets (only $20!) and a $10 voucher each for food and drinks. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Staff were so lovely and accommodating, it really made our night. Once we ordered an obnoxious amount of food we made our way to our seats, which had never been used before – our butts were the first butts to ever sit there. And unlike the Chermside or Garden City seats, which are fabric-covered and have lots of suss-looking stains on them, these recliners were plush leather and so, so comfortable.
So now I’ve reviewed our awesome experience at the cinema, let’s move on to the film. At the base of this movie is an absolutely incredible true story about a covert operation to get six Americans out of Iran in 1979. The group escaped the US Embassy as militants stormed the building and took everyone else hostage. Knowing it was only a matter of time before the they were found out and executed, CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) dreamt up a risky plan to get them out. He pitched the idea of the six posing as part of a Canadian film crew location scouting for a sci-fi blockbuster ‘Argo’ and enlisted the help of special effects make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) on the ground in LA. I love that this included a launch party and an ad in Variety for a film that was completely fake. Genius.
It’s such an outrageous way to try and rescue these people and even more outrageous that it was true. While the hostage situation is a well-known news event, their story remained classified until 1997 and director Affleck did an amazing job digging it up and sharing it with the world. Of course it has been given the Hollywood once-over, complete with thrilling suspense and a pretty unbelievably close-call of an ending. Nonetheless the story really appealed to me and the film did a wonderful job telling it.
The juxtaposition of the magical land of Hollywood with the brutal regime in Iran was striking – not only visually, but in the sound, the dialogue and the camera work. The parts shot in LA were smooth, well produced and quite airy, while in Iran the camera was often handheld and shaky. Goodman and Arkin were absolute standouts and I felt we got to know their characters more than the six stuck in Iran, which probably shouldn’t have been the case. Affleck put himself in the hero role and although I find it a little narcissistic and cringy when actors do this (cough.. Tom Cruise.. cough), I still think he gave a strong performance. 4/5