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Movie reviews: Argo and Life of Pi

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Just coincidentally, the last two movies we saw were Roger Ebert’s Number 1 and 2 picks for the year. (Also just realized that both have Canadian connections…)

Argo poster***½ Argo (October 2012) – Theatre

Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Viktor Garber. Six Americans escaped from the embassy in 1979 at the start of the hostage crisis, getting refuge from the Canadian ambassador. This movie focuses on the American ruse used to get them out.

She says: We saw this late, so I was looking out for a diminishment of the Canadian role in this, anticipating the tension of watching the actual escape, though we all know it succeeded. I found the Canadian treatment not as bad as it might have been; it was at least clear the ambassador and his wife were putting themselves at risk in this venture. And the series of check points on the way out of Iran did, indeed, quite effectively build tension.

And it is a really interesting story, that I hadn’t known before, that a faux movie was the pretext used for them being there (as Canadians), and that the American involvement was long covered up for the sake of the remaining hostages. While I’m sure the facts were “Hollywood-ized”, it’s still good to know them. Unlike the fake Argo, this Argo was a well-made movie.

He says: It kind of got on my nerves that every point of the escape was a cliffhanger, down to the plane being chased. But I couldn’t help get caught up in it anyway. And I agree that the Canadian treatment didn’t seem that bad.

Lie of Pi poster***½ Life of Pi 3D (October 2012) – Theatre

Suraj Sharma, Gérard Dépardieu, Tabu. A young man leaving India with his family and their zoo animals survives a shipwreck, ending up with a Bengal tiger as a companion.

She says: I had not read the book, so really did not know what to expect from this apparently philosophical movie about a young man on a raft with tiger. How is that a movie? Do he and the tiger talk?

This sounds strange, given the premise, but the movie was a lot more realistic that I was expecting. For one, it’s not really a spoiler to say that the tiger doesn’t talk; the tiger is a tiger. And their time on the life boat is much more about the details of survival than I was expecting: how to get sufficient food, water, and sun protection, while not being eaten by a tiger. It’s certainly an odd story, but very compelling. The final riddle, of which story you believe, definitely stuck with us.

And the movie is gorgeous. My eyes are unbalanced, so I’m never sure if I see 3D as well as other people, but there’s no doubt I could see the depth in some scenes. The underwater cinematography was particularly impressive.

He says: I wasn’t sure about this one, but I ended up really liking it—the photography, the tiger story… I’m probably missing the themes, or whatever, but I enjoyed the movie.

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