I’m not going to talk about whether Argo will or won’t. I’m only going to talk about how good it is and what a successful film it’s been this year.
We’re used to Oscar years where most of the movies aren’t all that. Occasionally there will be an overwhelming array of greatness, as there was, to my mind, in 2010 with The Social Network, Black Swan and Inception, to name just three. But no one probably counted so many great films crowding into the race as they have this year. Beast of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom were two early favorites that might have had a better edge if this year hadn’t delivered so many good eggs. It’s easy, then, to have forgotten about Ben Affleck’s Argo. Many now believe that Kathryn Bigelow’s just delivered the Argo killer in Zero Dark Thirty, which is a much more serious look at a more recent, still white hot time in our history. Both films are so crushingly good it’s beyond comprehension that they would join a year that also delivered Lincoln, Amour, The Dark Knight Rises, and Life of Pi – even the so-so movies are better than they usually are, like Cloud Atlas. Many also believe that Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook are exceptional works by vital directors. Still, there is still a case to be made for Argo.
One of the best screenplays by a long, long way is Chris Terrio’s walnut-tight script with zingers throughout, alternating between funny, suspenseful and moving all at once. But coming off of two movies that were underrated, I think, Affleck has hit it out of the park with the crowdpleasing Argo. Admittedly, it was easier to praise it without the other late-breaking films stealing attention but once the smoke clears Argo will be well remembered.
Why is it good? Its funny. But more than that, it has you on the edge of your seat during the hostage break. Zero Dark Thirty, of course, has the Bin Laden raid which is so heavy and hard core you can’t come up for air. But Affleck wasn’t going for heavy this time (as he already went there with Gone Baby Gone) – he was just trying to make a good fucking movie and he managed to do just that.
Only two films, believe it or not have passed through the critics and the box office with flying colors, three if you add Silver Linings which had a pretty good weekend. Argo has
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