TIFF 2012: ARGOF*CKYOURSELF! (Argo review)
I must admit, as much as I dislike the end of summer I always look forward to TIFF, and this year is no exception. I had the pleasure of attending the world premier screening of Ben Affleck's film "Argo" at Roy Thompson Hall on Friday, now I'm no hardcore movie buff but here is my quick review of Friday's screening of this action packed thriller.
If there's a type of film I like it's certainly documentaries, so Ben Affleck's film "Argo" which is based on the true story of the 1979 overtaking of the US Embassy in Tehran and the daring rescue of 6 Americans was right up my alley.
Life imitates art and art imitates life in the powerful new suspense drama from director-star Ben Affleck, about the making of a fake movie that aimed to save real lives. Inspired by the recently declassified account of a joint operation between the CIA and Canadian authorities to smuggle six Americans out of Tehran in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis, Argo is a masterfully orchestrated thriller that is both wholly incredible and unbelievably true.
On November 4, 1979, a group of Islamist militants took control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held fifty-two embassy personnel hostage. Six members of the embassy staff managed to escape and secretly took refuge in the Canadian embassy, where they remain in constant danger from the militants’ door-to-door searches. Enter CIA "exfiltration" specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck), who cooks up a scheme to get the imperilled Americans out of the country. Mendez proposes to enter Iran posing as the producer of a fake Canadian science-fiction film entitled Argo, on the pretense that Iran’s arid rural landscape would make convincing (and cut-rate) extraterrestrial terrain; following the "location scouting," the six Americans will accompany him out of Iran posing as members of the film crew. To put his plan into action, Mendez will need expert advice, which leads him to befriend and recruit veteran Hollywood producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to the cause. A script is cranked out and the plan is put into action — and once he lands in Iran, Mendez is going to have to play the role of a lifetime.
This unique spin on the caper movie is both a riveting historical thriller and a witty satire on Hollywood excess. Although the great supporting cast — including Arkin, John Goodman and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston — provides much buoyant humour, the tension never lets up. Affleck has already proven himself capable of helming gripping action set pieces in The Town (which screened at the Festival in 2010). With Argo, Affleck’s canvas is wider, and his directorial control even more graceful and assured. - Source: TIFF
I'll be the first to admit that my ADD can get the best of me when it comes to movies, however this film had my full attention from beginning to the end.
The cast was great, I especially enjoyed John Goodman & Alan Arkin's roles in the film (ARGOF*CKYOURSELF! haha.). I can imagine it isn't easy to take us back to the early 80's Hollywood & Tehran and recreate all the sets and original footage the way they did, but it was perfectly done in my opinion. Storyline was solid, and it was sprinkled with some great jokes throughout the film ("It's Torono, they don't pronounce the T". haha, so true.).
So all in all I definitely enjoyed the film and for somebody who doesn't generally like to watch things twice I would watch it again. If you're looking for a good thriller film this fall be sure to give Argo a shot, you just might enjoy it as much as myself and my date did. I give it a two thumbs up! Wouldn't surprise me if it wins an Oscar.
Post screening we went and checked in for dinner @ the popular Italian restaurant on King St. West's "Restaurant Row", Kit Kat . If you're looking for an great place to take a date or go with friends I highly highly recommend it.
We had the bruschetta with cheese, two 8oz NY Angus striploin steaks and washed it down with a bottle of Wolf Blass and couldn't have been any more satisfied. The steaks were done to perfection, the bruschetta bread was so fresh it melted in your mouth, and the atmosphere in the place made for the perfect place to compliment the evening. Even though the place was packed wall to wall with all the TIFF goers, the staff were very friendly and the service was exceptional, even the owner Al Carbone would come by to see how everything was throughout our meal.
I guess it speaks for itself when a place has been around for 20+ years in a highly competitive place like Toronto. If you're ever in the area, be sure to pop in to Kit Kat, you won't be disappointed.
Next TIFF screening for me is the premier of "Ice Man", looks like another awesome film.