|Affleck delivers another solid film with this inspirational story.|
Directed by Ben Affleck
Produced by Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov
Written by Chris Terrio (screenplay); Joshuah Bearman (article)
Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman
**** (Original rating: ***1/2)
In 1979, a hostage crisis began in Iran, when the American embassy was raided by an angry mob of Islamic protestors. The U.S. had given Iran's former dictator asylum, and they wanted him back to punish him for his crimes against their people. Fifty-two hostages were taken and held for many months, but six American workers escaped before they were captured. They were fortunately able to hide out at the Canadian embassy. In response, the CIA put Tony Mendez (Affleck) on the case, and he planned a phony film called Argo, even hiring a producer (Arkin) and another Hollywood vet (Goodman) to help promote the movie. His task was simple: go to Iran and get the six hostages out, under the cover of a film crew on a location scout. What followed is one of the most incredible true stories ever told.
This is Ben Affleck's third directorial effort, and he continues to prove his talents behind the camera. With a tight script, he creates a thrilling, even funny, film that keeps the viewer thoroughly engaged throughout the entire ordeal. Affleck stars as part of an ensemble, and he blends in well, without calling attention to himself in this cast of mostly unknowns (who play the American hostages). In fact, the performances all around are solid, with the unknowns giving us the tension, and Arkin and Goodman providing most of the laughs. It's clear that Affleck did his homework, as the film shows many historical photographs that were almost identical to shots in the film. Argo is an interesting film, because it's both a crowd-pleaser and a bold dramatic work. If you're looking for an inspirational story told by a talented director, go see it.
Oscar Potential: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Arkin), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing