ARGO was a great film. Here is the story of a group of Americans that escaped the US Embassy in Iran and hid out with the Canadian Ambassador while everyone else was held prisoner. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember these people at all-though I do clearly recall the running total on the evening news as day after day after day passed.
Argo opens with a nice politically correct statement from a woman with an Iranian accent telling how everything was fine in Iran until those evil bastards the Americans made a blood thirsty villain the Shah of Iran. This little opening sequence makes it clear that what happened was all America’s fault-it then moves on to the story of the poor saps working at the Embassy who were just doing their jobs and had nothing to do with regime changing.
Our hero is an expert at getting people out of tricky situations and he is horrified that the original rescue plan involves having the escapees ride bicycles 300 miles across the Iranian wilderness in the middle of winter. Other plans are also shot down, until finally, the only idea left is to pretend that they are a film crew scouting locations for a sci-fi movie called ARGO.
What follows is a story of Hollywood and the CIA working together to pull off a near impossible rescue. One of the most shocking shots in the movie was the Hollywood sign of 1980, a few random scraps of wood rotting away in the Hollywood hills. How the hell did that happen?
This was a griping story that kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire running time. The people of Iran are shown to be nothing but blood thirsty lunatics with the exception of three people. Two of them are public relations officials who try to carry on as if nothing has happened while helping the film crew look for places to shot their movie. The other is a maid working for the Canadian Ambassador who chooses to help the escapees rather than turn them in.
At every step of the way, every decision threatens to be the death of our heroes.
As the film rolls to an end there is a voice over from President Carter where he talks about what a hero Tony Mendez is and how happy he was that the Iran Crisis ended peacefully. As if he had anything to do with it. It’s hard to imagine just about any other President in US history laying back and taking it the way Carter did.
I’ve always said that George W Bush was wrong to invade Iraq and Afghanistan-sure we needed to do something after 9/11, but that wasn’t it. Unlike Bush, Carter knew where the Bad Guys were and what would be needed to end the crisis. I was never a fan of President Reagan, but he did two things I fully approved of-he fired the Air Traffic Controllers when they went on strike; and he put the Fear of God-and nuclear weapons-into Iran.
ARGO was a great film, great cast, great sets, and a lot of emotion. It fully deserves it’s Best Picture Oscar.