A terrific supporting cast, especially the non A-list actors, make the dramatic license taken justified and redeem Affleck for miscasting himself in the hero’s role.
-Bruce Bennett, Mad About Movies

Let’s face it, Ben Affleck is a better director than an actor. Argo is an amazing story hindered only by the lead actor’s performance, and it’s a shame because casting a different actor could have brought much more to the role.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of Argo :

Pros

  • A large supporting cast that is excellent
    Bryan Cranston. Alan Arkin. John Goodman. Victor Garber. Kyle Chandler. Zeljko Ivanek. Titus Welliver. Richard Kind.
    All these actors round out the supporting cast and really elevate the believability of the events on screen.
  • Very tight editing
    From scene to scene, Argo never misses a beat. Every shot has a purpose and the film flows nicely, never allowing the audience to lose interest. The tension is at a perfect level throughout and does a great job keeping one invested in the events that play out.
  • Jack O’Donnell: They’ve got revolutionary guards going door to door. These people die, they die badly.

  • An intense and horrifying opening sequence
    To kick this movie off, Iranian citizens overthrow the U.S. Embassy in a violent and brutal manner. It is a heart-stopping scene of terrorism and very effective at setting up the crisis that plays out during the rest of the film.
  • It successfully depicts a historical event while satirizing Hollywood
    Argo maintains a humorous almost light-hearted take on the Hollywood system while the serious events of the main plot are taking place. And it manages to take nothing away from the grimness and severity of the situation, which adds a nice light undertone to the film. Also, it takes a pretty big shot at the legitimacy of film journalism.

Cons

  • Ben Affleck isn’t a good actor and is miscast. That’s it. Everything else about this movie is great.

FilmFire review:
4/5 forms


For all its good intentions and spurts of innovation, it never really comes alive as living, breathing history. Instead, it too often plays like an audio reading of the Congressional Record, with some unwieldy domestic scenes tossed in for good measure.
-Matt Brunson , Creative Loafing

I was disappointed with Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln. After last year’s very mediocre and overly sappyWar Horse, I expected somewhat of a comeback film for Spielberg and I had been anticipating Lincoln greatly. Then the awful trailer was released and I lost a lot of interest. The film is fine if expectations are kept low, but don’t expect a monumental piece of film-making that changes the way history is viewed.

Here is the basic outline of the story: politicians on opposing sides of the aisle argue vehemently over some topic and are so divided there is no hope for any resolution. Enter Abraham Lincoln who proceeds to tell a whimsical story that relates to the issue at hand that makes everyone laugh and smile and forget their differences. Rinse and repeat until the movie’s over.

I wasn’t enamored with Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance as Lincoln, it was played very low key and I didn’t feel it had enough gravitas for a movie centered around this character. Strangely, I think Lincoln himelself was probably my least favorite character in the movie. Tommy Lee Jones actually has the best scenes in the film, playing outspoken House representative Thaddeus Stevens:

Thaddeus Stevens: How can I hold that all men are created equal when here before me stands stinking the moral carcass of the gentleman from Ohio? Proof that some men are inferior. Endowed by their maker with dim wits, impermeable to reason, with cold pallid slime in their veins instead of hot red blood. You are more reptile than man George, so low and flat that the foot of man is incapable of crushing you.

The scenes of courtroom-esque drama and political maneuvering are done well and are very entertaining, but Spielberg for some reason tries to shoehorn terribly done family drama into the narrative that just doesn’t work at all. Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows up out of nowhere as Lincoln’s son Robert in a poorly executed plot that goes nowhere. Sally Field does great work as Mary Todd but she is given virtually nothing to do other than whine and cry about the war.

There is probably enough historically interesting about Lincoln to warrant a watch but it is a definite disappointment. The politics are a lot of fun but that’s about it.

FilmFire review:
2.75/5 forms

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