Argo

Ben Affleck’s pro-America thriller Argo has a little bit of something for everyone.  If you’re interested in a little-known piece of 30-year-old history.  If your curiosity is roused by the nooks and crannies of the Hollywood studio system.  If you want laughs.  If you crave suspense.   If you want to see good actors invest in a smart script, look no further.

Do you know anything about the 1979 Iranian Revolution in which an angry mob of the nation’s protestors stormed the neighboring U.S. Embassy for a takeover?  Did you also know that six American Embassy employees escaped the takeover and took refuge in a local residence owned by Canada-born immigrant?  How about a covert plan to send in a CIA agent to rescue them under the guise of a Canadian movie producer shooting a major science-fiction picture in an exotic locale?  I knew none of this.

Ben Affleck plays the all-brains CIA agent, Tony Mendez whose ridiculous plan is ‘the best bad idea’ the government has to extract the six hostages—men and women expected to absorb fake Canadian identities and pose as a film crew in order to fly out of Iran alive.  If they raise any suspicion about their covers, they will likely be executed.

Sounds grim?  Don’t take Affleck for granted.  In hatching the scheme, Affleck and his writers of the film have plenty of commentary to swath over Hollywood studio system of decades-past.  Alan Arkin and John Goodman deliver huge laughs as film industry veterans sculpting the ultimate cover for Mendez, and they have a ball doing so.

Affleck, whose talent has surged in the last five years, has proven that his abilities extend beyond Boston-set crime thrillers.  With Argo, he proves immensely capable both in front and behind the camera.  His character Mendez wrestles with the life-and-death demands of his job as six lives depend on his scheme.  Meanwhile, his family suffers from his absence at home.  But just when you think Affleck is all deep-rooted drama, he drops huge laughs in by the barrel, taking shots at the film industry and the occasionally stupefied CIA.

I see major award attention headed Argo‘s way—not because it’s an Oscar-bait film—but because it’s actually a very good film that audiences will eat up due to the fact that it is suspenseful, funny, well-made, and even educational.

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  1. I saw former defense secretary Robert Gates speak a few weeks ago, and one of the audience members asked what movie most accurately captured CIA life. His response? “Argo.” That alone made me want to see this movie.

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