Who would have thought that we would be excited about a movie directed and co-starred by mr. Ben Affleck?
Not me, that’s for sure, but after his first 2 major motion pictures ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘The Town’ received so much critical acclaim, the world is very closely watching his projects.
Argo is arguably Afflecks’ best work to date and shows he’s becoming a more skilled and able director every year.
To those who weren’t around in the 70’s to witness the events portrayed in this movie: It’s basically about a hostage situation.
Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA operative specialised in exfiltrations. When the US Embassy in Iran is overthrown by local militia, 6 Americans manage to escape the building without being noticed and Tony is called in to create a plan to extract them.
He comes up with an elaborate plan to extract them, the name of the plan? Argo.
Tony’s idea is to make Iran believe that they are planning to shoot a new movie in Iran called Argo.
A science fiction tale set in the middle eastern part of the world.
He’ll fly into Iran alone and plans to take the 6 Americans back as his ‘crew’ to Zurich.
To do this he sets up a fake movie agency with the help of John Chambers (played by the always excellent John Goodman) and his fellow friend Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and creates Canadian passports for the Americans to use on the airport.
Sounds ridiculous? Yes. Did it really happen? Yes.
Argo is based on a true story and ofcourse, Hollywood being Hollywood, it’s dramatised for us.
But not to the extent that it moves away to much from the real operation back in 1980.
There are a lot of components in Argo that make the movie work so well.
If we take the group of Americans, or more specifically: the actors portraying them, it’s a great ensemble with Scoot McNairy (Killing them Softly) as one of the standouts.
Add to that a true sense of realism, great set and costume design, overall shooting of the movie and various other little details and you start to see why Argo is such a great movie.
Ofcourse, the movie is one big tease until the moment they try to escape, which is definitely the moment where all the different elements that worked so great on it’s own start to merge into one nailbiter of an ending.
One google search on ‘Canadian Caper’ or ‘Argo’ will give you the answers to whether they make it or not, but knowing that upfront wouldn’t lessen the amount of sheer anxiety you get from watching it unfold on your screen.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many people sit on the front of their seats in the finale of a movie.
Affleck has earned my respect for being a director who tends to focus on the humanity of it all. It seems that this is a recurring theme with him, and his acting seems to be at it’s best when it’s in one of his own movies as well.
He has that certain quality where you never know if he’s in control, broken down, buffed up (which he definitely is) or just plain Keanu Reeves like. He channels it all into his role of Tony Mendez and it makes the movie better for it.
Another nod should go out to Alan Arkin who steals every scene that he’s in.
The man is funny as hell and his part as the streetwise Hollywood mogul Lester is a highlight of Argo.
Which brings me to another aspect of this movie: Comedy.
It deals with a lot of heavy and serious matter, yet it isn’t afraid to mock it a bit without harming its own credibility. The movie flows along in a nice and brisky pace, and even those of you who feel this is ‘just another Munich’ should give Argo a try.
Mr. Affleck, it’s 3 out of 3 sir.
Please continue doing what you’re doing.