So last night I went on my own to see Ben Affleck's "ARGO", and for once I want to make some comments on here. This space is intended for everything, even though so far I've only posted book reviews!
Really enjoyable and both funny and tense/gripping. The thing about it is, the material is necessarily good because it is based on a true story. And that led me to wondering how come the critics in general have said that Affleck is a good director?
The CIA help rescue Americans from Iran after the revolution when Iranians hated the US for refusing to send back the Shah. The bravery of all those involved is exceptional. What touched me wasn't how good the movie is (like for example a Batman film, or an Indie one like Juno), but rather, if even only a fraction is true, what those poor people went through is absolutely incredible. The film made me forget about the actual hostages, who were kept for 444 days... and instead I was totally hooked by those 6 trying to escape.
Affleck lets the power of the story shine through, and I think that's the most important job of a director. You could argue that this should be easy, but I think that is underestimating how hard it is to make a compelling story come to life and have drama/tension/comedy on screen. I can guess where there was additional padding added for Hollywood, but quite honestly that doesn't bother me.
I saw this at the Tyneside Cinema which really gave the film something special. In the small Roxy theatre (max. 70 people I'd guess?) you feel attached and free with the small audience. Extra leg room and reclined seats come as standard, as does the generally great atmosphere. I always laugh out loud so much there.