Directed by Ben Affleck
Successfully blending suspense, comedy, and dramatic elements to perfection, Argo is one of the few undeniably great movies I've seen from this year.
Ben Affleck is no longer a punchline. Not even his acting was flawed in this movie. As a director, he hasn't taken a foul step yet, and with Argo he has proven himself to be one of the finest filmmakers working today. This is a thriller, through and through. From beginning to end, you can feel deep down the stress, tension and urgency of every moment. How Affleck managed to keep this movie from imploding by the third act is a miracle and a testament to how fantastic of a filmmaker he has turned out to be.
One thing I found myself most impressed by with this movie, was how well it managed to maintain tension. For roughly the last 40 minutes of the film, I was on the edge of my seat, despite already knowing the outcome. That last part is the most important thing: I knew what was going to happen, yet I was still completely drawn in to the suspense of the situation. This combined with the screenplay's ability to add comedic elements without feeling forced or inconsistent is much more than impressive -- it's incredible.
The intricate attention to detail of the costume, hair, and set design in this movie gave the genuine feeling that it was set 30+ years ago as it was intended to be. Not once did any of it feel artificial. Rarely does a movie put you in a situation so effectively and create such a great atmosphere that you can both believe and feel the weight of. Thanks to this dedication towards generating authenticity, Argo becomes a movie you can experience as well as simply watch.
Performance-wise, this is one of the most well-acted movies of the year. From its well-known cast members (Affleck, Cranston, Arkin, Goodman, etc.) to the unknowns, not a single performance is out of place. Though Affleck is by no means a great leading man, this is the best performance I can recall seeing from him, and Alan Arkin is a complete joy to watch, delivering all the best lines in the film in hilarious deadpan. To return to the subject of this film's authenticity, it's because of this incredible attention to detail that makes the movie so fantastic. Nothing about this movie stands out in a negative way. I genuinely have nothing bad to say about this movie.
With great performances, writing, set design, and cinematography, it's how well everything about this movie blends together that makes it so brilliant. Every element of this movie is executed to near-perfection. If this isn't one of the very best movies of the year, I don't know what is.