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2012 thriller directed by Ben Affleck.

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Argo is one of the Best Films of the Year

  • Oct 12, 2012
  • by

As a small child, I can remember the Iranian hostage crisis as it dominated the news media for over a year. While I did not understand the political atmosphere behind it, I did understand that a group of our embassy staff were being held prisoner in a foreign land for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Director and star Ben Affleck has brought a new side to the story to light in the form of his new film “Argo”, which is based upon true events which have recently become declassified. The story centers around six workers of the embassy in Tehran, who fled the chaos when a disgruntled mob stormed the embassy walls. At that time it was unheard of for an embassy to be occupied as they host country and internal security were thought to of been more than adequate protection.

However for a country in a state of revolution, much less one that was extremely upset with America’s refusal to return the deposed Shah to face trial, security from the local populace was not available when the unthinkable happened.

After being turned away by the British and New Zealand embassies, the six escapees find refuge in the residence of the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), who refuses to turn them away despite the volatile political situation harboring them would create should they ever be discovered.

On the other side of the world, C.I.A. Director Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston), and his staff are desperately looking for a way to retrieve not only the Americans held hostage but also the six individuals currently being sheltered by the Canadian ambassador.

With few viable options available, save for the longshot of trying to get the refugees to bike through 300 miles of winter and soldier laden roads to the Turkish border, Tony Mendez (Affleck), is brought in to find other options.

One evening, Tony gets the idea to go to Iran posing as a Canadian filmmaker on a location scouting trip for an upcoming film. His plan is to pass the refugees off as part of his crew thanks to newly issued passports from the Canadian government.

In order to add validity to his plan, Tony recruits award-winning makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman), and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), to help establish the necessary cover for the operation.

Soon Tony, John, and Lester have obtained a script for science fiction film named “Argo”, and the use the Hollywood trades and publicity machine to establish their back story of their production company and film project.

With time running down, Tony must venture alone to Tehran to meet with and prepare the refugees for extraction as well as firming up their cover with the local Iranian authorities.

What follows is a tense political thriller that is extremely well performed and captivating throughout. What really impressed me about the film was that Affleck expertly paced it and refrain from using such overused stereotypes such as car chases, fight sequences, and love scenes to tell the story.

The cast is exceptionally good all around and the film does a good job capturing the look and the atmosphere of the situation without ever becoming preachy and taking extreme political stances. Instead the focus is on real people caught in an extraordinary situation from which they were unprepared, and the extraordinary measures taken by good people in the United States and Canada who stepped up and did the right thing regardless of the cost to them personally or politically.

“Argo”, was an extremely pleasant surprise in one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year. While I understand it would not be for everyone, I would not be surprised to see the film get a few Oscar nods come awards season as they would be in my opinion well deserved.

4 stars out of 5.

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More Argo reviews
review by . October 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
If Argo did anything besides make me grab a complete stranger in the movie theater for fear of the hostages lives, it was prove once and for all that Ben Affleck is a great director.  He has proven his stuff in the past with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, but Argo has affirmed that he can direct the crap out of anything.  It has the perfect mix of tension, action, drama, and laughs and may be one of the best movies I have seen all year.  You may expect a dry telling of a hostage …
review by . October 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         In late 1979, at the height of the Iranian Revolution, fifty-two Americans were taken prisoner and held hostage by Islamic militants after they seized control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The six diplomats that managed to evade capture took shelter in the homes of various “friendly country” ambassadors, including that of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. The covert plan to rescue them, a joint venture between the government of Canada …
Quick Tip by . May 31, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
One of the films that I had missed in theaters was director Ben Affleck's "Argo", which by now have won the best picture award in the 2013 Oscars.      I realize that I am late in writing a full review for this film. "Argo" is an espionage drama based on real-events that took place in the late 70's and even has given some light to the tensions between Iran and the U.S. back then.      The film is impeccably executed, Affleck succeeds …
review by . December 29, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Argo doesn't pump the brakes on any short notice. It's not one sided, it doesn't force the viewer to think more than it needs to, and it sure avoids a hostage crysis within the borders of our beloved theaters. It comfortably delivers a great dose of adrenaline by polishing one of the most interesting CIA stories of hot-zones extractions and intelligence gathering ever revealed to the press.             Ben Affleck, unlike in his career as …
review by . March 26, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Secret operation thrillingly brought to the screen
During the 1979 take-over of the American Embassy in Tehran, six Americans escape and are hidden in the Canadian Embassy. The CIA hatches a plot to get them out by having them masquerade as members of a Canadian sci-fi film project.      What a stunning movie. It is unbearably tense and the ending left me breathless and in tears. Director/Star Ben Affleck does a wonderful job and it's all the more harrowing because it's a true story. John Goodman and Alan Arkin play Hollywood …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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