Argo Movie Review

Based on the true story during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, ARGO is a captivating political thriller that no one should miss.  The film follows CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and his plight to rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran after the Iranian revolution had reached maximum heights using an extremely unorthodox cover of making a fake movie.

Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston in Argo

When militants aggressively take control of the U.S. embassy in Iran, six Americans manage to escape finding refuge in the Canadian embassy.  It is up to the CIA to come up with a rescue plan before the Iranians discover how many Americans are missing and where they are located.  Tony Mendez is brought in by Jack O’Donnel (Bryan Cranston) to help come up with a plan that doesn’t involve going to war.  After a slew of terrible ideas, they agree on the best of all the bad options – create a fake Hollywood movie along with false production crew identities as a disguise with the plan of heading to Iran for location scouting.  It’s important that I reiterate that this actually happened.

Alan Arkin, John Goodman in Argo

STAR WARS had just been released two years prior and Science Fiction was all the rage.  Mendez contacted his friend and movie makeup specialist John Chambers (played by the always great John Goodman).  Through Chambers they enlist director Lester Siegel (played by the very funny Alan Arkin).  Together they admirably go through the early preproduction stages of an epic sci-fi film from a bad script unexplainably titled ARGO.

While these early moments in the film are fascinating mixed with a surprising amount of humor, they are wisely still restrained and spliced between the deadly drama of the unfortunate chaos happening across the world.  We are able to see the stress and danger that the six Americans in hiding are going through along with the dangers for the Canadians harboring them.  The six aren’t just a number but are rich characters that are individuals for which we care about.  As they too must adapt and prepare for something they are clearly unqualified for in order to save their own lives.

Ben Affleck in Argo

Much like Ron Howard’s APOLLO 13, the audience is probably aware of the outcome.  However, the journey to the outcome is still so full of suspense and tension that the audience can’t pull their eyes away from the action unfolding on screen. Capturing the essence of the era, the amazingly authentic costuming and art direction help provide a realism to lose yourself in the time.  The bad hair, small box TV’s and Star Wars sheets are just little details that had me smiling in awe of the accuracy.

Never a dull moment, ARGO masterfully puts together every complex detail through, editing, cinematography and dialogue in a manner that every audience member can easily digest, immersing themselves fully into the film.  Ironically, the knowingly fake bad movie Argo that was never made, eventually got to put it’s name on this brilliant picture where every aspect of filmmaking is notably magnificent.

Ben Affleck in Argo

With GONE BABY GONE, THE TOWN and now ARGO, Ben Affleck has quickly proven himself to be one of the best directors working today.  I have no doubt the Oscar Winner (Best Screenplay with pal Matt Damon for GOOD WILL HUNTING) will get his first Best Picture and Best Director nomination for the exquisitely near flawless work in ARGO.


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