Ethical sensitivity is one of the most important aspects that weigh heavily on the film Argo (2012) directed by Ben Affleck. The film is an interesting event-raveling depiction of what occurred three decades ago in Iran during the time of revolution. Through its ability to capture the attention of the viewer using a true story based plot, it provides insights into some of the events that occurred in 1979. Six American officials working at the United States Embassy in Iran were able to escape after the embassy was captured by a mob of rebels. These events occurred in history and are depicted as though happening in the real sense. At the time, Tehran, Iran’s capital was captured by a pro-Ayatollah mob following an extended period of political instability in the nation that rendered the ruling government under threat of a coup. Argo depicts the subsequent events of the hostages who were captured and brutally held in the embassy. Jimmy Carter was the then President of the United States. Various events that occurred following the events as depicted in the film are ethically controversial. This paper highlights some of these concerns.
Historical accuracy has largely been breached in many ways. Although films are not obliged to portray events in real life, people believe the events are based on true occurrences, and, therefore, they should have realistic resemblance. In 1979, a revolution occurred and indeed there were many similar events that occurred as portrayed in the film. However, there are various events that diverge from the way things happened in the real sense. The six Americans who escaped the scene of the rebellion and subsequent hostage were rescued through the efforts of the Canadian government among other nations. In the film, both Britain and New Zealand are said to have turned away the Americans. It is believed that Britain and New Zealand were strategically ill-positioned to help the six Americans (Argo, Dir. Ben Affleck, 2013). The countries however played a crucial role in saving their lives and promoting their return to the United States. The film indicates a negative air of lack of diplomacy in the actions of the two countries with a lack of genuine commitment to cooperation. The film effectively fails to stick to the general theme of the revolution and instead involves itself with the complexity of political and diplomatic issues that create a sense of ethical insensitivity.
Corruption is a negative practice in the modern society. The film portrays Iran's government at the time of the revolution as characterized by a deep sense corruption. At the same time, the American regime is portrayed to be involved in corruption itself. Mendez is shown soliciting from his superiors a bankrolled scheme to rescue the six Americans in Tehran. The film through the events leading up to the coup show a corrupt and oppressive regime that is insensitive to the people’s needs. These events eventually lead to the revolution with Iranian people portrayed as victims of abuse from their government. The film seems to posit the fact that countries are unwilling to accept allegations of corruption (Argo, Dir. Ben Affleck, 2013). It underlines the truth as beyond belief because corruption exists in the modern world especially in the political scene, but nations are unwilling to ponder the assertion of corruption and in return the implications to the governments. The film depicts wide chasm and loopholes hypocrisy in control of corruption. The easiest route to blaming other countries is portrayed in the film’s insistence on Iran government’s malpractice in the public scene.
Human rights concerns arise almost immediately as the scene of hostage runs. After six of the officials escape the remaining officials are put through a series of painful ordeals from the rebels. This occurs at a time when human rights concerns are ripe. Argo seems to fail to recognize the categorical imperative of ethics and moral behavior. While in the real sense the events of the hostage were not clearly defined during the revolution, the film fails to be sensitive about the universal obligation that binds all humans without exception. The environment in Tehran reflected negatively on human rights with the Americans portrayed as victims of assault in the larger picture (Argo, Dir. Ben Affleck, 2013). In reality, the nature of torture for the hostages was not apparent yet the film portrays with a certainty a physically painful ordeal for the officials. Within the boundaries of ethical behavior, individuals should act in such a way that the act in question can be applied to all other moral agents universally as a law. Everybody can act in the same moral way that is acceptable. Argo shows a lack of recognition of the virtuous cycle of the elements of human rights that must be adopted within the ethical realm.
Cultural sensitivity is depicted in the film with the main character Mendez representing a community a personality writ in the Hispanic culture. The name Mendez could not have been coincidental with the main character portrayed as an outsider. Mendez works for the CIA. His decisions and actions put the entire film in perspective. It is through his plans that a scheme is developed to stage a fake movie in action in Tehran through which the six Americans are rescued. The universal feeling is that Mendez is portrayed as a Hispanic in order to put the CIA in good taste as a non-racial organ of the Federal government (Argo, Dir. Ben Affleck, 2013). Mendez himself does not show any signs of the Hispanic culture. His behavior does not have any traces of the Hispanic community and is insensitive to their values. While Argo portrays Mendez as a hero in a way, it also shows his actions as fit for an outsider rather than a Native American. Controversies surrounding the maltreatment of Hispanics in the United States in the past does not auger well with this portrayal. The film, therefore, stands at an ill position about cultural sensitivity especially in regard to the political events.
In conclusion, the film Argo is both insightful and ethically controversial. The film helps viewers to have an understanding of the historical events that occurred during the Iranian revolution in 1979. It puts various aspects into perspective. However, through the actions and decisions of the main character, Mendez, we can observe some ethical concerns that surround the film. The decision to plot a scheme that rescues six Americans from the crisis in Tehran leads to a host of problems ranging from human rights violation, corruption, cultural insensitivity and political and diplomatic concerns. The events occurring in the film have some critical resemblance to the real events, but various historical inaccuracies are depicted. In the grand scheme of things, Ben Affleck’s film ought to have been more sensitive to the realm of politics and culture. The timing of the film puts it in a controversial position in ethical terms as various events raise eyebrows.
Argo, Dir. Ben Affleck. Sony, 2013. DVD.