Director : Ben Affleck
Cast : Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin & Tate Donovan
My Rating 4/5
The first time I really noticed Ben Affleck was when Good Will Hunting came out in 1997. Him and Matt Damon. Ben was 25 and Matt 27. And what a script which these two young men wrote and what a wonderful film. I was totally bowled over. Since then I have been following both, and truth be told, always had a softer spot for Damon.
Things changed ten years later when Gone Baby Gone came out. I loved this crime/mystery film and it saw the birth of Ben Affleck the Director. He followed it with The Town, and now Argo.
Based on an article "Escape from Tehran" by Joshua Bearman, the film is a dramatic recreation of a true story that unfolded in 1979 in Tehran.
From the word go, the film is gripping. The chaos and terror in the US Embassy as an angry mob, baying for American blood takes over and takes the diplomatic staff as hostages sets up the tone for the drama and thrill to follow.
The story is of the six people who managed to escape from the Embassy and find shelter in the Canadian ambassador's home as the world watches in shock. And of Tony Mendez, a CIA specialist, played brilliantly and with great subtlety by Ben Affleck. How he comes up with the most bizzare plan. that seems like the best of worst plans ever made and then goes on a rescue mission is what Argo is all about.
To get these six out is impossible and extremely dangerous, but Tony Mendez comes up with an Idea that what if they were a Canadian film crew scouting for locations in Iran. He has to now create an entire fake set up, which has to pass as the real deal in Iran, with every eye watching closely and relentlessly.
The script that is chosen for this mission almost impossible is called "ARGO"
Argo scores big on the tight narrative, some crafty editing and the great ensemble cast. The volatile situation in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini has been captured very well.
Bryan Cranston as Jack O'Donnell is bang on as the straight shooting Boss of Tony, Goodman and Arkin (my favorite in the film) and the others playing the famous six, all do justice to their characters.
To adapt a real life incident is not easy. But Ben Affleck gets it so right. The length is 2 hours, but it whizzes past. The camerawork is very organic and serves the story well. The claustrophobia and fear of the characters waiting to be freed, hoping against hope is made palpable by the skillful direction.
What I really liked was the underlying humor and some really funny moments in this taut thriller. Specially the ones between John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
So is Tony successful in saving these six lives, go watch and find the answer. Its a ride you would very much enjoy.