There’s a moment in the opening scene of Argo when I realized, “this isn’t your typical movie.” Argo is clever and funny and filled with the kind of tension-filled moments that make the thriller genre go round. But it’s more than that. Argo is entertainment of the highest order. It’s an oasis of greatness in the desert of mediocre event pictures that now litter the cinematic landscape. Set during the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979, it tells the story of Tony Mendez, a CIA operative who put together a fake movie (complete with a real script, real production offices, real Hollywood producer, and real write-ups in the entertainment trades) as cover for the operation by which he would ferry to safety six Americans who escaped the U.S. embassy in Tehran while the hostage-taking was getting under way. The six were holed up at the Canadian Ambassador’s house, but the clock was ticking.
Tags: Alan Arkin, Argo, Ben Affleck, Chris Terrio, Clea Duvall, FILM, FILM DRAMA, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Iranian Hostage Crisis, John Goodman, Political Thriller, Scott McNairy, Tate Donovan, The Culture
I am a lover of the fall film. As a screenwriter, these are the kinds of films I aspired to write. Masterful, tour de force explorations of the human soul, in which characters undergo the kind of life-shattering experiences that force them to change. In these movies, the characters we root for nearly always rise to the occasion. They accept the challenge, they do battle (with themselves and the outside world), and often achieve their outside goals. But even if they do not, they are transformed by the journey, made better for having endeavored toward some hard-to-attain goal — which makes for a happy ending of a whole ‘nother sort. I think here of a movie like Michael Clayton, writer/director Tony Gilroy’s beautiful masterpiece about a law firm fixer who comes face to face with his demons, and decides to wrestle them down. George Clooney’s Clayton looks who he’s been and what he’s been a part of in the eye. And though we can’t imagine how he fares after the end credits — what will he do for a living? who will he be now that his conversion experience is complete? — we leave the theatre or turn off the DVD believing that the low places have been made high.
Tags: Arbitrage, Brit Marling, FILM, Film & TV, FILM DRAMA, MOVIES, Nicholas Jarecki, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, The Culture, The Power Of Story