Ben Affleck’s new political, thriller Argo arrived earlier this month and I finally managed to see it last week. I first saw the trailer for this in the cinema and knew I had to go see it. The film is based on a true story and is jam-packed with tension, suspense and some humour here and there. It’s 1979 and during a mob uprising in Iran, the US Embassy is attacked, with the people inside taken hostage. However, 6 Embassy workers manage to escape and take refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s house and the CIA must come up with a plan to get them out alive, without being caught.
This film is truly one of the best films I have seen all year, and certainly the best smaller budget film; this is Aflek’s best directing and some of his best acting and he’s put together a great cast of actors who you may not know unless you’ve seen their other work, but are fantastic none the less. Ben Afflek gives a fantastic performance as Tony Mendes, the CIA operative that is put in charge of getting the 6 out alive. Throughout the film he carries the weight of the mission ahead of him and you empathise with his character during some of the more intense decision making processes. John Goodman and Alan Arkin offer comedic light heartedness as the two film industry experts that Mendes enlists to help him create his fake movie. Victor Garber (Alias alumni) does a great job as the Canadian ambassador, a man who has to think about his own safety but nonetheless cannot turn away the 6 Embassy workers. The 6 are also individual and fantastic in their own right, conveying the fear and pressure that they were under. Bryan Cranston was also brilliant as Jack O’Donnell, Mendes’ boss, particularly one scene during the last part of the film which featured a frantic race to getting the group their tickets.
This film takes you through a range of emotions, and there is a sense of seriousness throughout, particularly as it was based on a true event. The film blends a mixture of footage they have shot and actual archived footage from the actual period which was a great touch. It’s a rollercoaster of a film and the last half an hour truly had my heart in my mouth to the point I actually could have cried. As the credits rolled, and the photos of the actual 6 came up, it was pretty moving and I certainly could have clapped right there and then, not just for the bravery of the actual people involved at the time but for Ben Afflek and producer George Clooney for bringing this story out of history and letting people find out the truth.
The film made its way around the festival circuit and got fantastic reviews and as a result word seeped out about this film. Hopefully if you are reading this, you’ll be able to still catch it in the cinemas – if not go find a copy when it comes to DVD – you won’t be disappointed.
“Argo fuck yourself” (Argo; Lester Siegel, Tony Mendes, John Chambers)