Final Film Critique Draft

May 13, 2018 Cultural

“They are going to try and break you,” and when you hear “I think my story is the only thing between you and a gun to your head” is a life changing event that makes you realize how important it is to cooperate.

When you watch Argo starring Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, you know you are watching an Oscar nominee movie.

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The movie was written by Chris Terrio, based off of true events that occurred in 1979 which Tony Mendez (a CIA agent) led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran (, 2012). According to, “Argo” won three Oscar awards for best picture, best director (Ben Affleck), and best film editing (William Goldenberg).

The critical analysis of the film Argo proves the storytelling, Acting, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Style and Directing Societal Impact, and Genre are all the most important factors behind the film’s success for a third time director making another historical event into a masterpiece. Much of the film was well directed and displayed great film editing and deserving the win for the best picture.


One of the awards “Argo” won was film editing. The movie editing helped the audience understand the story. In the movie “Argo”, the director decided to use old footage from original news footage, captured by the news media, of the break in of the U.S. Embassy in 1979.

He would transform the original footage from news footage and cut the scenes into the movie’s shot adding an intense and elevating the plot. This also added dramatic tension by shorten shots of tensions and immediately jumping to the dismayed and concerned personnel that many terrified.

As U.S. diplomats tried to destroy all U.S. documents from the Iranians’ revolutionaries before they can breach the compounds. The editor would appropriately anticipate what the viewers were expecting and when they should see it (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011). The editing made the scenes into a winner in this category.


Watching a movie is primarily visual, but it also contains a dialogue. The movie was based off of two books, “The Master of Disguise” by Antonio J. Mendez, and “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman (IMDB ARGO, 2012). Since the story came from the two books, Ben Affleck used a screen play to help format it for the film.

The director needs to collaborate with the screenwriter, actors and the other members of the movie to help tell the story and since Ben wanted to bring it to a cinematic way to achieve the success he did with directing “Good Will Hunting” (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011).

If we tell the story in Argo, we would say it is about six diplomatic personnel in which a CIA agent (Mendez) secretly operates to rescue them from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis (IMDB ARGO, 2012).

Ben used the setting of the movie to tie closely to the time and place to help tell the story and it was very important to set the setting for the film’s element of the conflict and the symbolic meaning of Iran’s revolutionary era. The importance of the settings, conflicts, and the action are some key elements to telling the story. Genre

When you see elements such as assault rifles and military personnel present usually means a war movie. In the film “Argo” belongs to a mystery genre and it could also be a cross genre as a war genre, but it could also be a suspense genre (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011).

The genre for this movie also offers a conveniently way to examine the movie, but it can be analyzed far beyond the surface of the original genre.

The movie comes across as a war movie with the violence and guns, but it really is a mystery movie added with suspense. As the characters roles are shown in the movie to be a CIA agent and hostages as they find a way out of Iran adding the much suspense of how all these factors in of the these diplomats to ever leaving Iran safelty leaves you glued to your seat.

Agent Mendez prepares them within 48 hours of arriving to Iran playing as film members helps make the movie a nail biting movie. The story made it interesting and it makes it to be examined beyond its genre. Acting

The first things we notice in movies are the actors and actors help us into the story of the movie. Acting is the tone of the film and it helps us decide if we will like it or not. Actors are the tools in which the director uses in scenes to help tell the story, but acting is typically a way for actors to become someone else and that is the magic (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011).

In Argo, the actors weren’t main stream actors and you wouldn’t know their role of the movies, but Ben Affleck can play many roles in different genres of movies making him a wild card. Ben took upon himself to be an actor that took the power beyond him to direct the film.

The film’s casting was choosing very strategic to help with the historical events, because it would help the audience define the era and the characters in the movie.

As the protagonist and the heroic character of the movie is agent Mendez (played by Ben Affleck) was an actual agent that helps tell the story, but more importantly to cast Ben as the protagonist so it could get recognition for commercial success.

But the other six cast members played their role as the desperate diplomats wanting to be saved from being caught and getting the death penalty. These cast members were the back bone of the movie, because they helped the viewers see how the events in Iran unfolded. Cinematography

The art or the science of the motion picture is photography. The science is on how the scene is displayed, how it is shot, and with the dimness of light and color gives the movie a distinctive feel. In Argo, some of the first shots were wide to show the large number of revolutionaries ready to take over the compounds of the U.S. Embassy.

In the next shot, you will see a serious and a distressed look of U.S. government employees wary, because they were aware of their surroundings and the attempt of a take-over. The shots had to show government offices and a building’s structure for the takeover. The tone of the film was established in the opening frames (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011). Sound

Watching a film is not always about the visuals, but the sounds of a movie. When there is a desire to watch an action movie, there will always be a film that a dialogue is the most important element (Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011).

As it states in, Film: From Watching to Seeing, by Goodykoontz, and et al, 2011,” rely on dialogue to establish character and advance the story. If well used, it can be a far richer way to move the plot along than by simply showing what happens. This doesn’t mean it is more important than what we see—if that were true, we might as well read a book. But the dialogue and the visual action work together to create the entire film experience.”

In the movie, the dialogue becomes a form of cultural shorthand, but dialogue such as ““They are going to try and break you,” and when you hear “I think my story is the only thing between you and a gun to your head” could include memorable lines and assistance to move the story along, to give clarification of relationships, and it also forms characterizations.

Since Argo didn’t have a soundtrack track or sound effects, the dialogue grabs you and made you sit up in your seat forcing you to pay attention. Style and Directing

Director Ben Affleck’s skills are not just limited to his scope of his acting, but as a director, producer, writer and singer. Ben wanted to be an actor since he was little, acting in a Burger King Commercial and playing in a mini-series with his longtime friend Matt Damon on “The Voyage of the Mimi”.

Ben played in many independent films that took him nowhere. They received appreciation for their work, but still they got turned down for the bigger roles and then Ben and Matt Damon were having trouble searching for work as actors, so they got tired of all the auditioning and made up their own script and wrote “Good Will Hunting”. This was their first break and their start of stardom.

Since Ben and Matt had many years of acting, they decided to take upon themselves to call the shots by writing their own scripts. Becoming a writer gave Ben the authority to call shots. Ben has a director’s heart, and Ben has been in slumps and directing has won him awards, recognition, and future business ( 2012). Impact of society on the film and vice versa

At this point, the director used the events of our foreign policy and U.S.’s run-ins with Iran in the 1980s to create friction, heroism, and calibration among our neighboring country Canada.

The film was not limited to just U.S. foreign policy, but to how a CIA agent engineered a rescue operation to save six diplomats from a revolution Iran and how it was turning into adding suspense and mystery movie.

The social impact had many in crosshairs with the movie, especially with the Iranian people. Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian radio figure for the Iranian descent, said many felt that the movie had a “deeply troubling portrayal of the Iranian people.

Ghomesti also thought the timing of the film was poor; because of American and Iranian relations are at its lowest for the sanctions talks about Iran’s nuclear program (Ghomeshi, 2012).

Many think the film fails to deliver satisfactory historical background of actual events as it represents making the Iranian people depicted as stereotypes (Cole, 2013).


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