Argo is a film that describes the rescue of a group of United States diplomats from a hostage situation in Iran. The film exclusively illustrates political crisis; however, a critique of the film reveals the political gaps that existed in the film. The film shows the great use of government power in the rescue mission but limits the use of some government arms in the rescue mission (Lapsley & Westlake 3). In the film, the Iranian activists hold a number of staff in the United States embassy hostage although some of them escape. However, the situation is expressly tough for the hostages. The director shows the heroics of the characters in the rescue of the hostages but the exaggeration reveals the political gaps in both the Iranian government and the American government. This paper summarizes the film with the intention of explaining the political and leadership gaps in the two governments that are prudent from the film.
Tony Mendez, the US specialist trusted for advice on the situation is an extremist in a number of ways. He criticizes the proposals of the government on the rescue mission that should be adopted and the proposals on securing the situation for the hostages. All the time through, he is well aware that he has no time to make fresh proposals for the steps that can be used in rescuing the situation for the hostages. The film is criticized however for the political satire and undercover story as Mendez is motivated from a movie to create an undercover story for the escapees. The creation of an undercover story shows that the government was ready to compromise their internal affairs and the integrity of the officers to gain people’s faith and rescue the hostages. The activities of the moviemakers in developing the science fantasy named Argo tells of the political deception that most governments in Europe and America undertake in order to please the people. The circumstances of the framing and contacting the movie companies to cover their stories makes the stories valid and credible in some way but at the same time, they discredit the integrity of the leaders.
The imposter nature of posing in order to deceive the people watching the cover for the escapees is also a show of the negative side for Mendez. He poses as the producer for the imposter companies and delivers the cover for the escapees. The major aim of the cover is entirely justified, as they want to do the best to save the escapees. However, the fact that he was called upon for advice on the situation but assumes an imposter role frames the movie as a fiction plot (Lapsley & Westlake 1). He links up with the six escapees, a factor that saves the escapees for some time as they can get the time to plan on the next moves that they should make in order to rescue the other hostages. However, the situation remains the same as they need to first figure out the best ways to save the hostages before celebrating the security of the escapees.
The political and leadership plot in the rescue mission is also faulted due to the military intervention into the whole plan to rescue the hostages. After posing as the producer for Argo, Mendez gives the escapees fake Canadian passports and escorts them to the airport for them to leave the country. They reluctantly do so although with fear. However, the operation is cancelled with little time remaining for Mendez to accomplish his plan as fears rise on the effect Mendez would have on the planned military intervention. The halting of the operation and replacement with the military intervention way into the mission displays the political critique for the modern films and leaderships. It shows that the powers did not communicate or consult because Mendez was given an all-clear signal to continue with the mission. The viewers are challenged to figure out the power center and the consultation levels before they arrived at the decision to have Mendez undertake part of the operation to rescue the hostages.
While the end of the operation appears to be the ultimate end of the influence of Mendez in the operation, he proves rigid and uncaring when he decides to carry on with the mission. This pushes O’Donnell to re-obtain the authorization for tickets leading to tension at the airport. The rigid nature of Mendez and the conflict in authorization reveal the political flaw in the rescue mission as this is likely to expose the identity of the escapees, which would endanger their lives even more. However, flight reservations are confirmed cooling the tension for the escapees. The pressure remains securing the remaining hostages. The drama however almost takes the lives of the hostages the wrong end as the revolutionary guards discover the plot as the plane takes off and tries to stop them. This is a glimpse of fiction in the film because realistically, the plane would be recalled to the airport over such suspicions. The plane would also be inspected for the identity of the people before it is allowed to take off but this does not happen due to the fictitious nature of the take off at the last minute.
The withdrawal of the American influence in the operation is highly criticized in the film plot (Lapsley & Westlake 7). Many people feel that the actions taken by the American people in the rescue should be more profound and more pronounced than they were throughout the film. The Canadian government is applauded for their efforts that led to the rescue of some of the hostages. Full credit is given to the Canadian embassy for the rescue in order for the remaining hostages to remain safe and unharmed by the Iranian activists. However, Mendez knows the role he played in the rescue and the American influence in the mission is entirely huge. Political reality frames this as the right thing for the authorities to do owing to the fact that they wanted to keep the other hostages before they could announce any success in their mission. However, the blackmails to the people land on the wrong side of political criticism to the film. The political critics feel that the leadership deceived the people, which are not the right thing for the leadership to do because they would endanger the Canadians living in Iran.
Argo is also criticized for the dark comic and its ability of creating tension in the public. The Iranian government names the film as a betrayal to the Iranian people by the American government while the international community thinks it was framing the Iranians for some of the crimes they never committed. The film talks about the reality expected during a hostage situation especially where a large number of citizens from a particular country are involved. It comically handles the situation between the Iranian activists and the reactions by the American government and the Canadians. However, it exposes various dark situations that could possible lead to angry reactions from the people. Abolhasan Banisadr, foreign minister from Iran and then serving personnel as president during the hostage situation in Iran, argued that the film produced to air the situation does not take into account the fact that most ministers and government officials in the country advocated freeing all the American employees and staff quickly. A Canadian writer and one of the most respected radio figure of Iranian descent, thought the film had a mental trouble to the Iranian people as it traumatized them for events they never took part in. precisely, the effect of the movie on the perception of the world towards Iran was tremendous. Although it made the whole world realize the reality of what transpired during the Iranian hostage situation, it antagonized the world against the Iranians and the effects are sour especially for the Iranian people.
The film also received very little attention from the people in Iran because they thought the Americans framed them for it. The American people however thought the film showed reality of the situation in Iran and that they needed some glimpses of truth offered in the film. The major criticism for the event however comes in terms of how the events in the film are portrayed. The film shows some level of terrorism and disrespect to the rights of the people, deception as well as the bright attempts by the people to rescue the suffering hostages. Minimization of the role of the Canadian embassy in the rescue is particularly an area of criticism for the film. The film acknowledges the fact that the Canadians played some part in the rescue. The embassy had a huge role in the rescue mission according to the film. However, according to the film, the role of the Canadians is not as profound as it actually was. Important details on the Canadian rescue efforts including the role of the embassy in the obtaining of the passports for the escapees of the hostage situation are not mentioned in the movie. In the presidential speech after the hostages are freed in Iran, there is minimal mention of the fact that the Canadians helped a great deal in the rescue. The Canadian people have all the truth in the disappointment at how the whole situation is handled especially for the fact that the government exclusively denied the lower Canadians who risked their lives for the mission the recognition they deserved.
Argo is also criticized mainly for the false claims that were made throughout the film. First, the film shows that the Americans struggled independently many times throughout the hostage situation. However, the truth is virtually different. During the rescue missions, the embassies of the foreign countries other than the United States of America played major roles in ensuring that the hostages were safe and that the condition became better. In fact, many of the hostages hid in the homes of other people while the other embassies also facilitated the departure of a host of people from Iran after the hostage situation. The film also claims that the British embassy turned down the Americans. This is one of the most critical points of criticism to the film. Throughout the mission to rescue the people, the Canadian embassy is seen as the centre of play because of the approach the Americans made to them.
The claim that the British refused to help the Americans was vague and it antagonized the two countries. The political critics see the movie as potentially harmful to the relationship between the United States of America and the British people living in the area. It may also create political tension between the two countries due to rising suspicion among the leaders. According to the film, the New Zealand embassy failed to advance any help to the hostages and the escapees. In fact, the film is a political catalyst as it claims that the New Zealand embassy turned the Americans down when the Americans needed those most. However, the reality is that the film creates an unnecessary political tension between the Americans and the New Zealand people. The film makes the Americans feel aggrieved by the New Zealand people yet the New Zealand people could have helped. At the same time, the claims of the efforts mounted by the American government to rescue the hostages are not all true. The American government is framed as the masterpiece of all the plans yet it took a small role in the whole plot.
The danger faced during the whole hostage situation is also exaggerated in the film. Different danger levels are exaggerated in the film. First, the danger posed on the Americans by the Iranian activists. The Iranians demanded a price from the American government because of the bitter feelings they had about the government. Before the escapees, none of the hostages is said to be hurt or killed, yet the film portrays the whole situation as if the Iranian activists would have killed all the hostages. The escapees faced a lot of danger especially because the American forces did not know the composition of the Iranian activists and their exact number. The Canadians also did not know the exactly size of rebels who they were dealing with and the location of the activists. However, the political critics of the film claim that the exaggeration of the danger posed to the escapees is a political irony to the hostage situation. As much as the people faced real danger for the hostage situation, the danger was not as much as they put it. The escapees also feared Mendez even when they were sure that he was in with a plan to rescue them by getting them to the airport quickly. They had a misconception that he was a member of the team that took them hostage hence he could kill them.
The hostage situation is also amplified too much to a point that it could cause suspicions among the people on the relations between the American people and the Iranian people. The rage and hate in the film looks real and the fictitious nature of some events in the film show that the American embassy and the Iranian embassy did not go along very well. In a rare case, most of the obstacles that are thrown before Mendez and the six escapees are, in fact, not real. All the obstacles are made up to show the level of cruelty presented by the hostage situation to the hostages. The Canadian embassy was involved more than the film suggests and some of the credits that the Americans get in the film are not justifiable. In fact, a good level of the heroic acts by Mendez and the rest of the American people are made up.
Many people criticized the movie also because of the fact that it had the potential to increase the terror activities in the entire Europe. The political critics of the film expose the fact that the film gives the terrorists important information regarding how they could overcome traps prompted by the political and security forces in their terror acts. Most of the acts were made up to suit the heroic intentions by the American actors. In fact, the batter part of the plot was exaggerated to suit the plot. This provides many loopholes that could be exploited for international terrorism, which would eventually lead to security breaches.
Concisely, the political criticism of Argo reveals that the film had many challenges in the context of its plot and arguments raised. Initially, although the film is based on true story, the plot relays many fictitious acts that jeopardize the efforts to create a real life plan for the people. First, some of the characters have features that do not fit the positions they take in the film hence they make the viewers mistake what actually prevailed in their circumstances. Mendez is particularly rigid and extremist yet he is chosen as the person to arbitrate the situation. The imposter nature in the plot also creates political disharmony as it frames the actors and their governments as made around blackmails. There were definitely better ways to break the ice but the actors exaggerate the activities and some of the events are made up in order to fit the intentions of the actors. The claims made in the film lead to another point of political criticism. The viewer cannot easily identify the argument or the scenario that the producer of the film intended to present. For a new viewer, the film is misinterpreted to show the existing political tension between the United States of America and countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
However, the embassies for the two countries probably made some effort to save the situation however small it may have been. At the same time, the Canadian role in the crisis is understated as the Canadian embassy not only revisited the airport but also trained the escapees on the Canadian ascend. The political critics also highlight the fact that the film opens way for international rage as well as terrorist skill increment. With the events in the film made up like the obstacles faced by Mendez together with the escapees, it is possible that the terrorist groups will use the same tricks to trap the escapees in another incident. Essentially, the film challenges people to think of the occurrence of the hostage situation although it exaggerates some of the events in the situation.
Lapsley, Robert & Westlake Michael. Film theory: An introduction. Second edition. Manchester University Press. Pp. 1-8