Thursday, February 21, 2013

Argo (2012)

**Seen on November 11th, 2012**

A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. [imdb]

Nominated for 7 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Original Score
Best Editing (WINNER)
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

Once Argo wins Best Picture a couple of days from now, it will instantly become probably my least favorite Best Picture winner in more than 50 years (yes, I think Braveheart, Driving Miss Daisy, Crash are a bit better)... How did this happen in a year that received so much praising? [more than I'd give it, but whatever] Well... a combination of smart campaigning and a lot of sympathy votes. 
Argo's biggest problem, in my opinion, is that it's an average thriller film and nothing more. NOTHING. The writing is mostly bad - and by that I mean scenes that are so "intense" that would be embarassing even for a van Damme film (and by this of course I mean the big final scene), Non-Westerners are Evil concept, individual villains that are either embarassingly stupid or evil in a mechanical way, screenplay solutions beyond belief... And so on.
I enjoyed Affleck's previous directing efforts: The Town was good enough and Gone Baby Gone was a GOOD film. But, dear world, please stop praising his directing style here - sure, it's above the level the screenplay requires, but there's nothing that good or even great about it. It's as well directed as any ok-ish political thriller drama. Nothing more. And THIS is what makes me happy about the Directing snub for Affleck, one of the most enjoyable this season - he really wouldn't have deserved the nomination, and even less so the win.
The acting is ok, even though Affleck had NO need to take over the leading role. Cranston might just give the best performance, while Arkin is clearly a coaster with this not-worthy nomination (the only stinky performance of his category, actually). The below-the-line aspect are ok, nothing ground-breaking. It will win Editing in a heartbeat, even though it doesn't deserve it.
My rating for the film: 6/10.  Much better in the quiet scenes. Otherwise, one cliche after the other.

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