Laura Martin ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
Ladies and gentlemen, Ben Affleck has done it again. As if The Town were not proof enough that Mr. Affleck himself could both direct and act in a picture simultaneously, consider Argo his successful second wind.
Based on a declassified true story, the film is proving an instant hit, a captivating story surrounding the Iran hostage crisis that took place in the late seventies into the early eighties. True to the actual events and in the film, the American embassy in Iran is stormed by Iranian revolutionaries who take 52 Americans hostage. Six Americans, however, escape to the Canadian Ambassador’s official residence and remain in hiding for some time. When the United States government catches wind of this, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) convinces his superiors to buy into his plan: create a fake Canadian film project set to shoot in Iran and smuggle them safely out of the country.
John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) are Mendez’s connections to Hollywood, the connections he needs to convince the world, specifically Iran, the movie they are making is legit. Alan Arkin’s character has the credibility Mendez needs, a big time Hollywood director who, paired with the humor and likeability of John Goodman, serve as our reliable source of comic relief.
Film fans will appreciate the movie business banter of Argo. Chambers says to Mendez: “Let me get this straight, you want to come to Hollywood, make a fake movie, and do nothing?” Mendez tells him: “That’s right,” to which Chambers replies: “You’ll fit right in.”
But more importantly, the film marries the genres of comedy and thriller so perfectly that you are not only entertained but also terrified. The tension of the film is unparalleled, even for a movie based on an event with which many of us are familiar with the outcome. And while Argo certainly passes as an action film as well, the action is intellectual. No one is shot, no one is detonated. Rather, the enemy is outsmarted, and with a plan so crazy, it just might work.
See it: If you are a Ben Affleck fan, a sucker for intellectual thrillers, or are partial to biographical films.
Don’t see it: If you are easily disturbed, as there are historical comparisons made to live footage and real yet gruesome images.