What subliminal messages?
For example, Tony tells one of the embassy employees, "Play with me today, and I will get you out tomorrow." Actually, he's not telling the embassy worker that, he's telling us the viewer that because the entire film sets the goal of "getting out" (the husband of one refugee laments how his wife kept begging him to leave but he wanted to stay just a bit longer...). We have to remember that Argo opened shortly after the nearly-forgotten Benghazi attacks on the American consulate in Libya; while Taken 2 opened to a whopping $50 million weekend (making back its entire budget in just three days), Argo didn't pass $20 million; why? Trailers for Taken 2 actively show Liam Neeson's character actively pursuing the Middle Eastern kidnappers and actively saving his family, whereas trailers for Argo show Ben Affleck running away (likewise, in Skyfall--which begins in Istanbul--and Zero Dark Thirty trailers, we see pursuits for justice courage, not cowing and humble submission).
But isn't this a heroic story?
|This view is another wall of the office for the Argo caper; please note the Canadian flag on the wall, left side. It's not just a tribute to Tony, it's a replacement for the American flag. While I disagree with a great deal in this article, I think it aptly summarizes how lop-sided and uninformed socialists view capitalism: Is Canadian Socialism a Better Breed of Capitalism?|
Because men typically signify the founding fathers or the economy (the active principle) and women typically symbolize the Church or the motherland, when there is a marriage in trouble in a film, it typifies discontinuity between the founding father (the traditions of the country) and the motherland (the future of where the country will go). This is where the problem comes in: technically, this disparity should be read as a problem in the Canadian identity of tradition (capitalism) and the future identity (socialism?), but--again--because at least I as a viewer kept forgetting Tony's Canadian identity, I saw the rupture between the American founding fathers and the future of America, between the economy and the identity of the country. This is important because, as you can imagine, at the end of the film, they are reconciled.
ONLY A LIBERAL could have gotten away with the words and images the film makers include in Argo; if a conservative film maker had mentioned snake charmers and flying carpets, or likened the exotic orient to the theater of the absurd, they definitely would have gotten panned by the film critics and certainly would not have gotten any awards, certainly not the Oscar nominations. It's through applying Orientalism--fear of the unknowable "other" and their traditions and culture--that Affleck not only accuses us the audience of being small minded towards Middle Easterners, but plays off the legitimate fears we have seen in televised attacks of anti-American sentiment, so Affleck gets to have his cake and eat it, too. By making the attackers militant, and accentuating aspects of how foreign they are from Western culture, he slowly heightens the drama and the viewer's desire to "get out" as quickly as possible through anxiety and a deepening feeling that, "It's just not worth it."
That is defeatism Affleck embraces.
|In Istanbul, Tony goes to meet an agent in the Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom, which used to be a Byzantine Church (Eastern Catholicism) until Muslims conquered the great city of Constantinople and took over the church for a mosque. It begs the question, is the holy wisdom of the film staying in a place where we are not wanted, or heeding the signs and getting out while we can? Again, Affleck highlighting a historical location of such importance feeds the general thesis of the film that America (as a Christian nation, or we at least once were) is a land conquered, not free.|
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner