Director: Ben Affleck
MPAA Rating: R
Argo, the new Ben Affleck directed flick, is just as powerful and just as amazing as his previous efforts with The Town, and Gone Baby Gone. A film about courage and bravery, Argo manages to pull at heartstrings, cause you to sit forward in your seat, and gasp with excitement. Bottom line, Argo’s got it all.
Set in 1979, we open up right as future hostages are about to be taken during the Iranian revolution and it is boom boom boom, water boiling, temperature’s rising, and everyone’s bothered instantly by how uncomfortable the situation actually is. From the opening credits, done with minimal glorious homage to 70s films, you are thrust into this world with utter conviction, believing every second that tick tocks by. You’re scared, you’re worried, you’re potentially sweating, and then just like every storm, the calm sets in and Affleck pulls the reins in, allowing you to breathe…for now.
In comes Tony Mendez, played with astounding bravo by Affleck himself, a super smart CIA man, one who specializes in getting people out of these very situations…of course. What Mendez comes up with could only be based on a true story. The idea is to create a fake movie, from pre-pro through location scouting, and trick the Iranian government to be able to sneak out 6 hostages as a Canadian film crew. This fake movie is a science fiction action flick that takes place in space, but with a few easy re-writes Mendez works it for an exotic location to scout. Here we go Tehran.
Besides the fact that this is based on a true story, nearly every moment of it seems authentic and genuine, a stunning control of the material demonstrated on the entirety of the film. The path to creating the faux movie, led by great performances by John Goodman and Alan Arkin, is where the distracting yet fantastic humor slides in, and is as important as the plot itself. Despite the lack of screen time in the second and third act, Goodman and Arkin still act as our guys back home that we root for every time we see them.
All around, the film consists of talented actors, ranging in age, sex, gender, and type; everyone puts their A game into this film. Even the ‘bad guys’ are great at what they do. This is a film that has already garnered talk about a potential Best Picture Nom (from what I’ve heard…) and if it continues to perform as strongly as it is—$20 million it’s first weekend—it has the potential to realistically accept that nomination. Argo is a strong film that is all around appealing, whether you’re looking for a touching true story, or an awesome spy film, it’ll definitely please both.