Imagine having to hide out in a cupboard under someone’s floor, or not being able to leave a home for weeks out of fear of being discovered. Imagine not knowing whether someone is coming for you tomorrow, the next day, or ever. But when someone comes, how do you trust him or rely on his plan to work? Argo is a dramatic film about the 1980 hostage crisis of six Americans in Tehran. The trailer captured the storyline of the film well, and led me to believe that this would be a drama based on a historical moment.
Right from the get go, the trailer builds its ethos by revealing the production companies: Warner Bros and GK films. Both of these production companies are recognizable to most movie watchers. The film gains credibility by the actors that it stars. In the trailer it highlights the role of Ben Affleck, a well-known actor, as more than just the star but also the director. The trailer uses a previous film he director, “The Town,” to build credibility to the name of Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck is known for his acting in the films Good Will Hunting, Jersey Girl, and He’s Just Not That Into You. If a company or character is well known, liked, and respected, their reputation will contribute to its persuasive power, and this is exactly what the name Ben Affleck does for this film (Everything’s an Argument pg. 56). At the end of the trailer, the four most well known actors are listed which adds to the ethos. Because this is the last picture I saw, I was able to remember the other star actors; consequently, making me want to go see the movie.
The music during this trailer appeals to the emotions of the viewers. The beginning of trailer is dramatic because it captures the six prisoners hiding out in Iran. Upon arrival of the actor John Goodman, who is known for his acting in Coyote Ugly, Trouble with the Curve, and Monsters Inc., the music changes to a more hopeful sound because the CIA has constructed a plan for rescuing the hostages. In the final third of the trailer, as Ben Affleck sets out to Iran, the music changes one last time to a more intense and suspenseful tone. Along with the music, the colors in the trailer appeal to the emotion of the viewers. Color can add a strong subconscious emotional appeal, with warmer colors suggesting aggressiveness, violence, and stimulation (Giannetti, color). The scenes in the trailer are consistently dark: black, brown, and gray. These colors serve to set an intense, dramatic, and unsettling feeling in the viewer.
The pace of the trailer serves to add pathos to the film. The trailer is jam packed with action scenes in the streets of Iran, the hiding out of the hostages, and build up of the plan for liberation. The trailer moves quickly through scenes, but at the end the pace speeds up dramatically. For the viewer, the speed creates a sense of pressure to fulfill a deadline. It heightens the emotion by setting a sense of finite time to capture the prisoners. I think that since the hostages were six Americans, some men, woman, and married couples, the emotions of the viewers are intensified. As a fellow American, I tried to imagine myself in that situation, and wondered if someone would risk his life to come and save me. Furthermore, I questioned whether a married father of a young boy would risk everything for my safety. The young boy in the trailer, Ben Affleck’s son in the film, serves to appeal to the sensitive side of the viewers because you wonder why a young boy is involved in such a dangerous mission.
This R rated film helps add to the logos because it classifies the audience that it will speak to: adults. I think that it is important to note that this film is based on a true story, which helps to add ethos and logos. However, since the audience is likely adults, some of the viewers may have been alive during this 1980 capturing in Tehran. This adds to the logic and emotion of the viewers because they can personally relate to the film. I think that the film builds its logic by having Ben Affleck play the lead role as the CIA officer. Casting is characterization, and I think that the attractive Ben Affleck was well type casted in this film (Giannetti, casting). Using Ben Affleck as the lead actor appealed to the romantic side of viewer’s emotions.
Immediately before the closing of the trailer, the last dramatic scene in the trailer is a line of six possible hostages with bags over their heads waiting in line to be shot. The placement of this scene added to the logos because it left me wondering if the six people behind the bags were the missing Americans. This created a moment of intense suspicion as the trailer closed, making me want to go and see the movie.
One aspect of logos that I think took away from the film was the use of humor in the trailer. There were multiple jokes that were singled out in the trailer, which led to some suspicion of humor as a key element. However, as a viewer, there is nothing funny about six Americans being held hostage in Iran. I think that the humor adds some affect to the film, but I think that it takes away from how serious this historical moment was.
Overall I would give this film a four out of five pickles. I think that the credibility and logic of the trailer was strong, and it appealed to a wide array of emotions. I believe that the trailer sends a powerful message to the viewers about the content of the film. I felt that director Ben Affleck along with his cast and producers provided a grip-wrenching trailer that made me want to watch the film.