ARGO is a near deftly crafted thriller, jingoist agitprop, full-on Islamophobic mockumentary

This movie is rated AYFKM– Film critics are unanimous in their praise of ARGO, Ben Affleck’s retelling of an Iran Hostage Crisis era escape caper. Either these reviews also reflect media agencies uniformly shrugging off Argo’s obvious anti-Iranian jingoism or these authors are inured to crude Islamophobic propaganda. Whatever the film’s highly praised period piece accuracies, the Angry Arab and bearded terrorist stereotype are pure post-9/11 refinements. The ill-fitting eyeglass frames, face-obstructing Prell hair, and presumed fitness-less sloop-shouldered physiques pretend to lampoon everyone of that era, but the character assassination is precision targeted at Iranians, all of them.

“Mockumentary” is meant to describe a mock documentary. Argo is not a documentary, although it asserts to be historical, but most assuredly it mocks.

Borat couldn’t have made this film more offensive. If the Muslim world wasn’t in an uproar about a fictional Hollywood video disparaging to Islam, Argo would do it. What a mockery to pretend that real Zionist movie moguls aren’t laughing about a story that depicts Jewish movie industryists pranking Iran with a fake production they called Ar-Go Fuck Yourself.

Let’s dispel right away the pretense of historical accuracy. The painstaking period details, and mimicked video footage is meant to lend a scent of authenticity to a CIA personnel expatriation that did happen, but much of the villain-at-their-heels tension was fabricated. Poetic license might excuse drama, were it not for the added perk of vilifying, parodying and humiliating a people.

I counted no insult spared. Angry Arabs (the Persians aren’t Arab — do they filmmakers know or care?) never attenuating their cacophonous accusatory gibberish. Death squads circulating house to house, Muslim-garbed women hypocritically enjoying Western fast food, every dark face a humorless compassionless fanatic, their soldiers hirsute menacing mongrels who do everything by force.

I’m off to research Argo’s fabrications which so flavor the Iran-bashing. For the time being I can surmise two. The film assert that the White House pulled the operation at the last minute, prompting ballsy improvisation when our hero agent went rogue. Later he was awarded the CIA’ highest honor. How likely was it that they gave a medal to an agent who really defied every link of his chain of command? Unless he didn’t. And second, the movie plot has Iran’s Revolutionary Guards so hot on their heels that the guards shoot their way through airport doors and mount pickup trucks to brandish guns as they chase a departing jumbo jet along the runway, providing Argo that Black Hawk Down, post-apocalypse Iraq, Libyan rebel stereotype sent up so well in Team America. The tarmac scene is witnessed only by the movie audience and the CIA extraction specialist as he looks out the airplane window. None of his charges sees it because they are of course real people who could do interviews and swiftly confirm the exaggeration.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to ARGO is a near deftly crafted thriller, jingoist agitprop, full-on Islamophobic mockumentary

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