The Mentalist 5.06 ‘Cherry Picked’

CBS crime drama The Mentalist first hit our screens in 2008, and I jumped on this TV show the minute I saw the first episode. The first 10 minutes of the pilot alone were witty, intelligent and gold. And with the absolute charismatic, charming and beautiful Simon Baker as the show lead – how can you go wrong?

The premise to the show is based around the lead character Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) who acts as a consultant to the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation), and has a way of reading people, using his intelligence and his keen observation skills to help find who the culprit is –hence the name ‘Mentalist’. However, Jane has a difficult past; he was once a TV psychic and because of his remarks about the serial killer ‘Red John’ he then murdered his wife and daughter. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to try and find Red John. Jane uses the help of Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and the rest of the her CBI team to help him discover the true identity of Red John; Jane also has a flair for mischief and quite regularly gets himself in trouble, subsequently also causing hilarity for fans of the show,

The Mentalist is now in its 5th season, and has reached the 100 episode landmark, and is still fresh and interesting as always. The main cast are talented and each bring their characters to life, and Simon Baker is a fantastic lead – beautiful and charming, his smile lights up the screen (and my heart).

This episode is a typical structure for the series, with most episodes revolving around one case per week. What appears to be a kidnapping case of a rich and powerful government associate is soon turned on its head when it is revealed that it is their friends who were house sitting who have in fact been taken. It appears they were the targets all along, and with the kidnapper demanding 4 million dollars, the team must figure out who the kidnappers are before things go awry. It turns out that one half of the couple who were kidnapped is the mastermind behind the crime (I in fact clocked her as an accomplice before it was revealed) and after some terrific acting fake acting (get it?) they bring the pair to justice. We also get a Red John sub-plot in this episode as Jane tries to re-locate a important associate of Red John’s.

Over the 5 seasons the Red John plot has moved steadily, with glimpses and clues being left like breadcrumbs. It’ll be interesting to see how long the plot could continue for, and more importantly who Red John will be (it has been hinted in the past by executive producer and creator Bruno Heller that we have in fact met Red John before). I have stuck with this series since it first aired over in the UK, it is a fantastic show and I for one hope it doesn’t end any time soon.

Jane: If we catch Red John, he’s not walking anywhere. He’s mine.

Lisbon: Don’t talk like that. I can’t let you anywhere near the case if you start talking crazy like that.

Jane: Crazy? You’re crazy is you think you’re gonna stop me. Red John is mine! You try to stand in my way and you – you will regret it (The Mentalist 1.23 Red John’s Footsteps)

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Merlin 5.13 The Diamond of the Day part 2

Settling down to watch the final ever episode of Merlin and it hits me when those famous words that every fan recognises are spoken for the final time:

In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name – Merlin.”

The episode picks up right where part 1 finished: the battle is still raging on with Arthur and his men breaking a sweat fighting Morgana’s forces, whilst Merlin rushes to the battle, to be by Arthur’s side and stop the prophecy from coming true. Even though Merlin produces his most powerful magic yet, with bolts of lightning from the sky, it doesn’t take long for the confrontation between Arthur and Mordred to take place. Gotta say I didn’t expect it to be over within 5 minutes, and quite so quickly. I was sad to see Alexander Vlahos go, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future. Even though Arthur dispatches Mordred, Arthur is also wounded and the image of Merlin wandering through the masses of bodies in search of his friend is incredibly dark.

As the battle dwindles, Gwen returns to Camelot, anxious, but hopeful that her husband is in fact alive. Having rescued him, Merlin finally chooses this moment to reveal the secret he has kept over the past 5 seasons – he has magic. The scene is terrifically acted by Bradley James as he takes in a range of emotions; disbelief, shock, denial and anger. It’s heartbreaking to see Arthur’s rejection of Merlin and later when Gaius comes to help Merlin, Arthur’s realisation that Gaius has known about Merlin all along is a great moment. Most of the rest of the episode revolves around Merlin trying to get Arthur to the Lake of Avalon in order to save him. The sub-plot of Gwen running things back in Camelot, and her guessing that Merlin was the sorcerer on the mountain are interesting and a little too  predictable, but I suppose hints have been dropped to her over the last two episodes and Gwen was always shrewd. We also get the other sub-plot of Gwaine and Percival going on a fool’s errand to try and kill Morgana who at this stage is completely broken, shrieking ‘I want him dead’  – a moment which is brilliant. Of course the knight’s quest doesn’t go to plan and poor Gwaine is tortured to death by the Nathair, ultimately revealing where Merlin and Arthur have gone.

Speaking of Merlin and Arthur, they are still journeying towards the lake, and really the best moments from tonight’s episode are from them. Bradley James and Colin Morgan really have a great on-screen partnership and their relationship is tested in light of Merlin’s admission. You see moments where it is clear that Arthur is hurt and betrayed “You’ve lied to me all this time.” But as the episode goes on, you see Arthur slowly thawing, and realising that Merlin is still the same person – a true gift for the fans is seeing these two share so many beautiful moments together in this episode. The bromance runs into trouble when Morgana arrives to try and kill Arthur once and for all, and even though her death is again swift, Katie McGrath really utilises every moment, not over doing it and making it as powerful as possible. It seems that these diversions have taken too much time though, and with a final heartfelt and heartbreaking apology and “thank you” from Arthur, the King dies in Merlin’s arms. Even though Merlin tries to save him with help from the Great Dragon, John Hurt’s booming voice informs Merlin that the King is indeed dead, but that he will rise again, when Albion’s need is greatest. This entire sequence is incredibly moving to watch, and certainly bought a tear or two to my eyes. You can feel the raw emotion coming off of Colin Morgan, and watching Arthur float away in that boat was beautifully heartbreaking. The series ends with Gwen taking the throne, and a bizarre 30 seconds of Merlin, disguised as the old man, walking through present day Britain.

Merlin really has blossomed into its 5th series and it’s sad to think I’m going to have to find something else to occupy my Saturday night’s next year. Throughout its 5 year run, it’s grown from an entertaining, funny and lighter TV drama, to a darker, grown-up and still extremely entertaining series, which has really shined on the BBC and certainly deserved all of its success. The entire main cast grew in their roles, McGrath even more so when she was allowed to be entirely evil and deliciously so. This series has allowed for the Knights to have more things to do as well, showing the entire cast’s creative talents. We’re not sure what the future holds for Merlin with movies, specials or spin-off’s all a potential, especially considering the loyal fan base, the show’s ratings and an open-ending.  What I know however, is that this show will be greatly missed. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the entire cast, crew, and creators for all their hard work and for giving us Merlin – in the words of the great dragon “It has been a privilege to have known you, young warlock. The story we have been a part of, will live long in the minds of men”

 

“I’m a sorcerer. I have magic. I use it for you, Arthur. Only for you.” (Merlin)

Merlin 5.12 ‘The Diamond of the Day’

The Diamond of the Day (part 1) was a slow-burner, but certainly set up the second part of the series finale, which now looks like it’s going to be a nail-biter of a last episode!

The episode opens with Morgana revealing her most powerful weapon yet – a creature that has the power to steal magical powers. She puts it to good use, ridding Merlin of his magic, forcing him into a vulnerable and weak position. He ventures to the Crystal Cave, a place where magic is supposed to be born to try and retrieve his lost powers and help Arthur in the final batter. Speaking of Arthur, he has decided to meet Morgana and her forces head on at the doomed place of Camlann. Gwen is at his side, providing support and guidance. Back at the cave, Morgana has discovered Merlin’s plan and traps him there. Merlin is visited by the ghost of his father at his lowest moment, providing words of wisdom for him to realise his true destiny and potential. The episode ends with the battle just commencing and Merlin emerging from the cave as his true magical self – the old man Emrys.

This episode was a solid start to the finale filled with some fantastic moments. We get a tiny glimpse of a confrontation between Morgana and Merlin, and Katie McGrath again puts in a great performance, as Morgana can finally see a way to achieve her goal. To see Mordred at her side is quite creepy, and even more so when he is slaughtering men whom he once fought alongside. There is also an incredibly touching moment in this episode and my personal favourite; a moment between servant and King where Merlin tells Arthur he cannot go with him to Camlann – it’s heartbreaking to watch, with Arthur telling Merlin he “was the bravest man I ever met” and Colin Morgan and Bradley James act out the scene beautifully. It’s touching to watch, and I’m only sorry that there weren’t more moments with the two of them – their relationship is really what is at the heart of this series, so hopefully they’ll be more scenes between these two in the last episode.

With less than 24 hours to go before the final episode airs, the countdown is certainly on.

 

Gaius: “If Arthur goes to Camlann the prophesy will come true and he will die.”

Merlin 5.10 & 5.11

I meant to finish this before the first-part of the series finale aired but I’ve been so busy with work. However, I still felt we should take a look back at episode 10 & 11. As we get closer and closer to the end of the series, the stakes are higher than ever for Merlin as his secret is looming closer to being revealed and Morgana becomes more fervent in her effort to find the true identity of Emrys and bring about Arthur’s downfall.

Episode 10 revolves around an old acquaintance – Alator of the Catha, one of the only people to know Merlin’s true identity and someone that consequently, Morgana is extremely interested in. Whilst she tortures his mind and body to try and extract the information, it’s back to romance and grand gestures with Arthur and Gwen. Merlin soon gets dragged into the mystery of Alator’s disappearance, encountering the mysterious Druid priestess Finna. While Gaius is suspicious of her, Merlin chooses to trust her which forces Gaius into an awkward position – he tells Arthur of her existence which then causes the knights to go in search for her. As well as the knights looking for her, Morgana learns of her existence from her master Alator (so in fact she was trustworthy) and launches her own hunt for her.  With both parties closing in, Merlin has to think fast (while injured) and after imparting wisdom and a further warning about Mordred, Finna sacrifices herself so that Morgana does not find out Merlin’s identity.

Alexander Vlahos (Mordred) takes a back seat in this episode; although the moments he is on screen he utilizes fully, particularly one tense conversation with Merlin where the mutual distrust that both characters feel for the other oozes off screen. Katie McGrath is also brilliant again as Morgana, not being melodramatic in her frustration and determination to capture Finna. She is the perfect villain, powerful but also vulnerable and easy to get a reaction out of. This episode ends on a cliff-hanger that certainly signifies the end is nigh – Morgana sends a message with the death of a knight due to old magic, signalling that war has begun.

The antepenultimate episode of the series is certainly a treat and truly brings out the acting talents of Alexander Vlahos’s Mordred as this episode centres mostly on him. While investigating an attack on a group of Camelot knights, Mordred stumbles across an old friend (and love) of his – a woman named Kara (played by guest-star Alexandra Dowling). He lets her escape, but she is later found and sentenced to death for killing the soldiers. Her lack of remorse and tenacity in a powerful scene with Arthur (Bradley James) allows the audience to not feel much sympathy for her character, as it is clear her belief that Arthur is the enemy is so rooted that it cannot be changed. Mordred attempts to change Arthur’s mind about her sentencing, telling him the truth and confessing his love for her. Arthur (sympathetically) refuses and so Mordred launches an escape attempt – Merlin leaps into action, telling Arthur of Mordred’s plan, allowing them to catch the pair. As Kara is put to death, Mordred seeps into despair and rage; escaping from his cell, he disappears and makes his way to Morgana. In a delicious cliff-hanger he tells Morgana the information she has longed to hear – the true identity of Emrys: Merlin.

This episode is filled with some standout, solid performances – particularly Vlahos’s Mordred. Mordred has always been lingering in the shadows, with the audience never knowing what his true motives have been, and now he moves into the forefront and Vlahos is able to fully flex his acting muscles. He succeeds in making the audience feel sympathy for his character in his torment about what to do about Kara – he loves her, yet he is so shocked by what she has become. Vlahos and Colin Morgan have some fantastic scenes together in this episode, filled with tension and mistrust – you can really feel the frustrations that have been building throughout the series. The heartbreaking scene where he asks Arthur to reconsider his decision is also stunning – truly a series best performance from him. Colin Morgan also puts in a fantastic performance, particularly the second half of the episode as he tries and repairs the fragile situation. He is soon out of his depth and you can see the weariness and lack of confidence in his decisions by the end of the episode, when he realises that he cannot save Mordred from going down the path to evil.

Bradley James also puts in a stellar performance as Arthur must struggle with the decision he is making – his relationship with Mordred has been a close one, with a bond and a trust forming, and even though Arthur tried to help, offering Kara a way out of her death, she threw it back in his face, choosing death, and thus fixing Mordred’s turn to the dark side.

The ending and the truth of Merlin’s true identity is a perfect set-up for next week’s finale two-parter. I cannot wait to see what the writers have come up with to end this fantastic series, which has truly found its stride in the last season.

Arthur: I’ve made a terrible mistake haven’t I?

Merlin: I hope not.

(The Drawing of the Dark)

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Joint Review

SO, seeing as Kat and I are both very big fans of Twilight (although I say Kat probably beats me as she has read the books as well), we decided that rather than both do separate blogs, we would do one big joint blog!

Warning –spoilers will follow.

Rachel: We both saw the movie at different times and even in different locations!  I lined up for the midnight showing of the movie; the cinema was filling up as it was totally sold out, as I waited in anticipation for it to start.

Kat: After a year of waiting, going through a major heartbreak which I thought I was never going to recover from, the moment was finally here.

R+K: Where to start?

R: Bill Condon returns to direct the 2nd part of Breaking Dawn and we pick up right where the first one ended, with Bella awakening from her sleep into a full blown Vampire – just what she always wanted! It’s interesting to see Bella, a character who as she put it in Eclipse ‘stumbles through life’ move through her new one gracefully, easily dispatching a mountain lion as her first kill.  I must admit, Kristen Stewart should be a vampire more often – her make-up was beautiful throughout the film, and I saw more than one emotion from her!

K: No Oscars are going to be won, especially none for best lead actress, *hisses*. For the last four films we have seen Isabella Swan rock jeans and sneakers, a beautiful make-up less face and pull off a incredible broken heart while still looking remotely human, the fifth film comes along and oh she’s now in dresses…wasn’t she the one who in Twilight DIDN’T want to go prom dress shopping? Excuse me? This is so out of character for her, her whole vampire trait in the book was that she stayed relatively close to her human self, and this totally wrecked it for me. She doesn’t suit the dresses they were putting her in, she’s far too skinny. Yes I see they were trying to make her more ‘vampire beautiful’ and mumsy for the film, but I don’t feel it worked. The red contacts however: yes.

R: I agree about the red contacts although I guess the different style of dress is to make her fit in with the rest of the Cullen clan. I personally loved her fierce loyalty towards Renesmee, despite her being a newborn vampire. It did all seem quite easy for her to fight her urges throughout the film, and her reaction to Jacob imprinting on her baby daughter was over-reactive to say the least “You named my daughter after the Loch Ness monster!”

K: I know you love it Rach, but please, I nearly puked in my mouth when Bella scrams ‘you named my daughter after the Loch Ness monster?’ I don’t even want to talk about my feelings towards that. Yes the Twilight Saga has seen some good one-liners, Eclipse being the best for them, but these just seem to be ‘trying too hard’ to be pulled off successfully.

R:  I remember laughing at certain points but honestly cannot remember any more of the jokes. As the film rounds off Bella’s first day as a vampire, we get the scene that we’ve been waiting for – the vampire sex scene. It’s quite steamy, and I did feel slightly awkward watching it. I think the most awkward part is that because it’s a 12A over in the UK it means children around 8/9 will watch it, probably with their parents – I would certainly shield their eyes at this point.

K: We’ve waited four films worth for the vampire on vampire love scene, and that is what we got? I couldn’t even tell if it was Bella and Edward. A clear example of when a 12A rating to get more money at the box office can wreck key pieces of story-line.

R: As their daughter grows every day (and can we just say what an awesome little actress Mackenzie Foy is; she’s adorable and she has great chemistry with Kristen, Rob and Taylor), trouble is brewing and the Volturi decide to rage all out war with them. It brings the Cullen’s on high alert, recruiting old friends and new from all around the world which introduces some great new characters – my favourites being the cousins from Alaska who we met briefly at the wedding and Garrett (Lee Pace) the vampire from Carlisle’s past. But getting to the part we were all waiting for – the change!

K: I must explain, unlike Rach, I fell in love with the Twilight saga through the books, so when the film didn’t quite stick to the words on the pages, you can probably guess I wasn’t best pleased.

R: I’ve read Twilight and I’m currently half way through New Moon, but I must admit when I heard that they had ‘changed’ the ending to the story I thought it was silly – it’s a book adaptation meaning you don’t just suddenly make up something to fit into the movie.

K: The moment Carlisle’s head got ripped off I turned to my friend to scream-whisper ‘DID THIS HAPPEN IN THE BOOK?!?!’ not believing my own memory, and crossed the DVD off my Christmas list. I carried on quietly fuming as the next 15 minutes played out, slowing getting more and more angry as the scene unfolded only to be rescued, like the rest of the audience, by the major twist being revealed.

R: I was happily calm until I realised Carlisle’s had been killed, and I was in utter shock, along with the rest of the cinema. You could collectively hear the gasps, and the panic through the cinema screen. As more characters kept dying, I was slowly panicking more, having no clue whether this had happened in the book or not. When it was finally revealed that it had all been a part of Alice’s vision to Aro, the entire cinema erupted into nervous laughter and huge sighs of relief.

K: I won’t deny that the twist was spectacular and an exceptional experience for all those involved, but it varied so far from the book that it did change my feelings towards the end film. The worst diversion (apart from the twist) was the involvement of Charlie. In the books it is clear that he knows about Bella being a vampire, it’s not spelled out to him, but it is clear that he knows and he spends so much more time with the family. He’s barely touched on in the film, apart from Jacob stripping for him and turning into a wolf, and this annoys me greatly (not the stripping part obviously).

R: Certainly not the stripping part! I was glad that we got to at least see some of Charlie in this film – I do love Billy Burke and he brings a comedic and loveable element to the film. After the (pretend) battle sequence, the film quickly wraps up, inferring that the Cullen’s, Jake and the wolf pack all live harmoniously in Forks together, but not before a cringe-worthy flashback sequence of Bella and Edward’s love story.

K: The montage of love scenes *says with a soppy voice* between the two and how far they’ve come over the past four film is just a waste of time. It’s clear you’ve ran out of things to do, and what makes it worse is that we’re still recovering from the Kirsten cheating scandal so we don’t want to be reminded of how good it was – yes it’s totally different but it somewhat reflects the coupe in real life as its part of their journey together. To follow this, the credits. Oh I’m sorry did we not say thank you to everyone when they were in the film they actually appeared in? Yes it was nice to pay tribute to those who have been part of the saga, but was it really necessary? Not for me, again another time waster.

R: See I really liked the end credit sequence – I thought it was a nice, heart-warming moment, giving each actor from every movie their moment in the sun, driving home the idea that the franchise was like ‘a family’.

I feel the final movie to the franchise is a good send off, filled with drama and tension and one that fans of the movie franchise won’t be disappointed with. I’ll be adding it to the DVD’s I’ll buy to complete my collection, but it certainly hasn’t left a hole in my life now that it’s over (that mantle belongs to the Harry Potter films). Hopefully Stephanie Meyer will not try and resurrect this franchise and I believe it’s come its rightful end.

K: I know I’ve slated the film like mad, but believe it or not I did enjoy it, and I will be awaiting the DVD, mainly so I have the complete set, but I can’t say I was overly impressed. I didn’t come out of the cinema wanting to go back in and watch it a second time, which upsets me greatly. I think I’m ready to finish the chapter and close the book on the twilight saga.

OneBlondeOneBrunette

“The packs will fight. We’ve never been afraid of vampires.” (Jacob, Breaking Dawn part 2)

Siege by Simon Kernick Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I made the classic mistake of not bringing a book with me for a train journey, I truly wasn’t expecting to find a gem of a book that I whimsically picked up because it was half price. Siege is such a gem; written by Simon Kernick it is a suspense thriller that masterfully interweaves several characters’ storylines to create the overall storyline.

The story centres on events at a fictional hotel in Park Lane called the Stanhope, where a group of terrorists take over the hotel, in order to wreak havoc on the British government. Different strands of the storyline filter together exploring different characters including the terrorists, the commanding officer at the hotel, the hotel manager, and a number of the hotel guests including a terminally ill man who came to commit suicide in the hotel and an assassin who gets caught up in the day’s events.

I have a number of Simon Kernick’s books and I have to say this is a fantastic read – I stormed through half of it on a train journey to London and back, and managed to finish the entire book within a week of purchasing it. I literally couldn’t put it down, and rooted for a lot of the characters to make it out alive and well. There is also an interesting afterword from Simon Kernick on his inspiration for the book and the process he went through writing the novel: plus a extract from his next book which includes a couple of characters from this book.

I urge you all to go find this book – short chapters, snappy writing, interesting characters and a book which will leave you completely gripped.

 

“The man we’re speaking to made some pretty major demands…but at no point did he do what almost all hijackers and hostages do when they’re trapped. He didn’t ask for safe passage out….Which suggest to me that neither he, nor they, have any intention of leaving that place alive.” (Siege, p.225)

Merlin Series 5

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So since I became employed full-time I have not had nearly enough time to write reviews on TV shows I keep up. In fact I have not had enough time to even watch said TV shows. I have only managed to keep up with one or two TV shows a week, however Merlin was first on my list to catch up fully on. The only reason I have not managed to watch it on TV is scheduling conflicts with The X Factor. So now that I’ve FINALLY caught up, I thought I’d write something about how the series is progressing so far.

It is fair to say that Series 5 has definitely been the best season of Merlin so far, full of drama, suspense, action and that classic Merlin humour.  The series has progressed with Merlin keeping a watchful eye on Mordred, as his true loyalty is constantly questioned. Whilst Merlin believes he is a threat, an even more real lies outside of Camelot in the form of Morgana, constantly cooking up schemes to get to Arthur to finally reclaim her throne.  It seems this series Morgana is coming closer than ever to finally getting what she wants, and the series takes unexpected twists and turns, playing out the classic Arthurian legend.

Some stand out moments from this series include the third episode where we see the welcome, brief return of Anthony Stewart Head as Uther Pendragon, terrorising the inhabitants of the castle as a ghost, and the episode ‘The Dark Tower’ which sees Morgana capture Gwen and haul her off to the mysterious Dark Tower. After the events of this episode Gwen is different, and it doesn’t take long for Merlin to realise that something terrible happened to Gwen when she was with Morgana. Now that Morgana has her very own puppet in Arthur’s circle, the attempts on Arthur’s life are far more perilous and the last episode saw Merlin and Arthur journey to try and break Morgana’s powerful spell. With the help of magic and the power of true love, Gwen was reversed back to her true self however with only 4 episodes left of Merlin; the path is certainly being laid out to an explosive finale.

This series has seen everyone up their game – from the effects, to the writing and also the acting. Colin Morgan has blossomed into the young sorcerer Merlin, he now has a maturity and presence on screen and he effortlessly carries the show’s lead role. Bradley James is also much more regal and serious in his role as King, but still shows some vulnerability; he and Colin Morgan still have a great chemistry and they both bring an excellent comedy factor with their timing, facial expressions. Katie McGrath oozes anger and frustration as Morgana, but does so understatedly to added effect, making her an excellent villain and a pleasure to watch on screen. Angel Coulby also has a chance to really shine, especially during the episodes Gwen is under Morgana’s control – you barely recognise the sweet natured Gwen that viewers know and she does a tremendous job in those few episodes.  Supporting cast including Gaius and all the knights are a joy to watch (particularly as some of the knights are quite fit.)

Sadly, 2 weeks ago it was announced that this series of Merlin would be its last; the creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy always said that they felt Merlin was a 5 series story arc that they could tell and they have stuck to their guns and brought a series to a dramatic close with the 2-parter which will air over Christmas. It didn’t mean I wasn’t wholeheartedly disappointed (I’d grown to really love Merlin as a shoe, and was even looking forward to this series more than the start of Doctor Who) however, I respect their decision to leave now bringing the story to its natural end, rather than being pushed out. I look forward to the final few episodes of this fantastic British series (and also for when X Factor ends so I can watch Merlin as it airs).

“If I lose her, I lose everything” (Arthur, Merlin 5.09 ‘With All My Heart’)

Argo Review

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Ben Affleck’s new political, thriller Argo arrived earlier this month and I finally managed to see it last week.  I first saw the trailer for this in the cinema and knew I had to go see it. The film is based on a true story and is jam-packed with tension, suspense and some humour here and there. It’s 1979 and during a mob uprising in Iran, the US Embassy is attacked, with the people inside taken hostage. However, 6 Embassy workers manage to escape and take refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s house and the CIA must come up with a plan to get them out alive, without being caught.

This film is truly one of the best films I have seen all year, and certainly the best smaller budget film; this is Aflek’s best directing and some of his best acting and he’s put together a great cast of actors who you may not know unless you’ve seen their other work, but are fantastic none the less. Ben Afflek gives a fantastic performance as Tony Mendes, the CIA operative that is put in charge of getting the 6 out alive. Throughout the film he carries the weight of the mission ahead of him and you empathise with his character during some of the more intense decision making processes. John Goodman and Alan Arkin offer comedic light heartedness as the two film industry experts that Mendes enlists to help him create his fake movie. Victor Garber (Alias alumni) does a great job as the Canadian ambassador, a man who has to think about his own safety but nonetheless cannot turn away the 6 Embassy workers. The 6 are also individual and fantastic in their own right, conveying the fear and pressure that they were under. Bryan Cranston was also brilliant as Jack O’Donnell, Mendes’ boss, particularly one scene during the last part of the film which featured a frantic race to getting the group their tickets.

This film takes you through a range of emotions, and there is a sense of seriousness throughout, particularly as it was based on a true event. The film blends a mixture of footage they have shot and actual archived footage from the actual period which was a great touch. It’s a rollercoaster of a film and the last half an hour truly had my heart in my mouth to the point I actually could have cried. As the credits rolled, and the photos of the actual 6 came up, it was pretty moving and I certainly could have clapped right there and then, not just for the bravery of the actual people involved at the time but for Ben Afflek and producer George Clooney for bringing this story out of history and letting people find out the truth.

The film made its way around the festival circuit and got fantastic reviews and as a result word seeped out about this film. Hopefully if you are reading this, you’ll be able to still catch it in the cinemas – if not go find a copy when it comes to DVD – you won’t be disappointed.

“Argo fuck yourself” (Argo; Lester Siegel, Tony Mendes, John Chambers)