Directors: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman
WHEN it comes to his behind-the-camera work, Ben Affleck continues to prove that he can deliver the goods with his ‘three for three’ effort, Argo. What began with Gone Baby Gone and improved with The Town, has now evolved into Affleck’s best work yet—both in front of and behind the camera—with Argo.
Argo tells the bizarre real-life tale of a recently declassified CIA file about how six Americans were exfiltrated from certain death in Iran. After the Iranian revolution turns violent in the 1970s, the American embassy is overrun by militant protestors and only six Americans escape capture. The six Americans hide out in the Canadian ambassador’s home, but it’s only a matter of time before the Iranian occupants of the American embassy discover the six are missing from the captives and hunt them down.
With the clock ticking and options limited, CIA honcho Jack O’Donnell (Cranston) calls on exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Affleck) to sit on a meeting with a single item on the agenda: how to get the six out of Iran. The suggestions are ridiculous, but Mendez trumps the ridiculousness with a daring plan of his own: to create a fake movie in Iran and get the six Americans out posing as a Canadian film crew.
Incredibly, the CIA signs off on the plan, and Mendez seeks the help of John Chambers (Goodman), a CIA contact in Hollywood, to pull off the caper. Chambers calls on producer Lester Siegel (Arkin), and the trio race to pull together an appropriate film as time runs out.
Put simply, Argo is brilliant; a film that offers the full package and is engrossing from start to finish. From the way that Affleck nails the look and feel of a ‘70’s film, to the stellar performances across the board (expect some Oscar nods), Argo is relentlessly engaging, often entertaining, and downright tense; particularly towards the end of the film.
The two-hour running time flies by as tensions build and the plan comes together (and is sporadically threatened) to create a dramatic thriller unmatched by any other film of the year (or in recent memory, for that matter). Argo is right at the top of the list for must-see films of 2012.
ARGO is in cinemas on the 25th of October.
Review: Nathan Lawrence