By Matt Singer | Criticwire August 31, 2012 at 8:30PM
A few hours ago I gave you a list of critics to follow on Twitter at this weekend's Telluride Film Festival. If you followed my advice you just saw almost all of them freak out over the first film of the fest, a surprise screening of Ben Affleck's period espionage thriller 'Argo.' The movie, which Affleck also stars in as a CIA agent trying to sneak U.S. diplomats out of 1970s Iran by posing as a filmmaker, earned rave reviews on Twitter and has already sparked several longer pieces proclaiming it a major player in the upcoming Oscar race. You'll find links to most of them below.
"Argo" next makes its "official" premiere at the Toronto Film Festival; it opens in theaters on October 12th. Sounds like one to put on your calendar.
Instant Twitter Reaction to 'Argo' from Telluride:
"#Telluride2012 rousing applause for ben affleck's 'Argo.' it resonates. Well timed Mideast drama with CIA heroes."
"Iran hostage crisis flick 'Argo' proves Ben Affleck is a very fine director indeed. #tff2012 sharp dialog, jitter inducing energy."
"'Argo' debuts at Telluride. Sensational. Instant Oscar contender. Ben Affleck triumph."
'Argo:' terrific, smart, grown-up entertainment. Affleck is a real live director. Top 10 of the year so far for me. #telluride"
'Argo:' Entertaining combo of political intrigue/Hollywood satire. Alan Arkin/J. Goodman steal show. A crowdpleasing 'Wag the Dog.' #Telluride"
"'Argo' - Damn that was outstanding. Got totally lost in the story, still sweating. Cast is fantastic all around, plus Bryan Cranston rules!"
"Just saw Ben Affleck's 'Argo' // loved it. Has everything great film should, suspense, humor, true story #TFF39"
"Applause in the middle of the movie. Hearing nothing but 'wow' and 'outstanding' outside the theater. A big hit. #argo"
"Just got to see my first film of the festival here in Telluride & I have to say, Ben Affleck's Argo is terrific #TFF2012"
"Ben Affleck's 'Argo' is a very solid thriller with some ace lensing by DP and a very slick first 20 mins. #Telluride2012"
"'Argo' is a near-brilliant nail-biting thriller. Fantastic performances/prod design. Ben Affleck’s smartest film yet as director."
"'Argo,' Iran hostage-escape drama set in '80, is smart & absorbing for first two-thirds, but the suspenseful final third is what sells it."
Longer 'Argo' Reactions:
"[The audience gave] it a 30-second sustained ovation. They also separately applauded when Affleck's credit appeared -- he not only directed but also stars in the film -- and also when the names of Oscar-winner Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who play key supporting characters in the film, flashed on the screen."
"Equally a slick political thriller, intelligent period piece and sly Hollywood satire, Ben Affleck's 'Argo' maintains a careful balance between commentary and entertainment value."
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:
"Extraordinarily suspenseful, extremely well-told and effortless in its complex tonal balance, the Telluride Film Festival couldn't have asked for a better opener; a captivating and thoughtful true-life drama that boasts a story so astonishing, it could only be told in the movies."
"The buzz was building on this taut and commercial thriller, which Affleck directs with screw-tightening efficiency that would make Michael Mann proud. Multiple Oscar nominations are in order as this movie surges to the top of the current Oscar contenders list."
"Somebody tweeted 'instant Best Picture contender!' after it was over. Really? Brilliantly suspenseful as the last act is, 'Argo,' boiled down, is just a clever, well-jiggered caper film. Hats off but why does it have to be a Best Picture contender? A story well told and highly suspenseful, for sure, but there's no thematic undertow, no metaphor tug -- nothing more than "this is what really happened, and wasn't it cool that the CIA pulled this off?" Yes, it was cool... but Best Picture contenders are about common chords and universality and shared emotional discovery, and that is not what 'Argo' is up to."