Title: Argo (2012)
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc / Two Disc Set
Video: 1080p / AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), & Thai
Run time: 120 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Region Coding: Region Free
Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez
Bryan Cranston as Jack O’Donnell
Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel
John Goodman as John Chambers
Victor Garber as Ken Taylor
Tate Donovan as Bob Anders
Clea DuVall as Cora Lijek
Scoot McNairy as Joe Stafford
Rory Cochrane as Lee Schatz
Christopher Denham as Mark Lijek
Kerry Bishé as Kathy Stafford
Kyle Chandler as Hamilton Jordan
Chris Messina as Malinov
Zeljko Ivanek as Robert Pender
Titus Welliver as Bates
Keith Szarabajka as Adam Engell
Bob Gunton as Cyrus Vance
Richard Kind as Max Klein
Directed by Ben Affleck
In 1979 the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran is overrun by Iranian nationalists. They are able to take several Americans hostage during this incident, but six manage to escape and take refuge in the Canadian ambassador’s house just a short distance away. The Canadians decide to protect the six Americans until the CIA can find a way to get the group out of the country. After a short time in the house it becomes clear that the group only has a limited amount of time before they are discovered hiding out.
After discussing many weak plans, Tony Mendez, who is the best exfil agent the CIA has, comes up with a more believable plan to get the six out of Iran. He decides that a fake Canadian film company must be created and that he must travel to Iran to pose as the associate producer. His plan is to make it look like the six Americans are actually members of a Canadian film crew who are scouting Iran for possible shooting locations for a Star Wars spinoff known as Argo. With the help of his friend John Chambers and a director named Lester Siegel the plan becomes the CIA’s only viable option. However, Mendez is running out of time as the Iranians are piecing together the puzzle that some hostages may be missing. Also, the CIA is threatening to shut down the operation for various political reasons. Will Mendez be able to get the group of six Americans out alive?
I had originally intended to post this review on Argo a few days ago, but I decided to wait and see how the Academy Awards would go down. The film ended up taking three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Writing, and Best Achievement in Editing and in my opinion it certainly deserves all three. This is definitely the high point of Affleck’s directing career so far as I found Argo to be a much better film than The Town or Gone Baby Gone. Make sure and set aside a couple hours to watch the 2012 Best Picture of the Year. Due to profanity and some violence this one is not for children.
Argo arrives on Blu-ray with a largely satisfying high definition transfer. Colors are well saturated without noticeable problems with grain remaining light and consistent. Fine detail is impeccable as well as many of the actors’ 70s clothing has many intricate designs and textures, which are all clearly visible. My only complaint is that there are a few softer shots scattered about along with the occasional showing of SD archival news footage. I found this to be slightly distracting at times, but it should not bother most people. This may not be a perfect transfer, but the film is so well made that it really doesn’t matter.
Argo is supplied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that is really the star of the show. Dialogue is always easily audible in the center channel, which is important since there are many lines which are softly spoken. The fronts and surrounds are used throughout the film and I found the balance and separation between them to be quite precise. The LFE gets quite a bit of attention during the storming of the embassy and several other scenes throughout the film. Thankfully, it never becomes overbearing or annoying. This is certainly a first rate lossless mix in my opinion.
Argo arrives on Blu-ray with an almost overwhelming array of supplements. First is a feature length PiP track that presents interviews with several of the survivors of the Iran incident as well as other key players in the ordeal. Next up is a feature length audio commentary with Affleck and writer Chris Terrio, which is mildly entertaining. Next up is a 17 minute recounting of the ordeal with President Carter, Mendez, and the six Americans. Next is a 11 minute look at Affleck’s desire to make sure the audience felt connected to the time and place of the incident. Next is a six minute look at the CIA’s alliance with Hollywood to get the six people out. Finally, we are given a 47 minute documentary from 2005 entitled Escape from Iran: The Hollywood Option. Everything above is presented in HD except for the documentary, which is in SD. There is also a DVD copy of the film on a second disc as well as an Ultraviolet Digital Copy code.
Final Word: A Must Own