Few rides in 2012 have been anywhere near as thrilling as Ben Affleck‘s sophomore directorial effort, Argo and as a patriotic Canadian, it is impossible not to feel an overwhelming sense of Pride about our involvement in it all – even if some have their opinions about the Film’s historical accuracy.
Set in 1979 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Argo centers around six U.S. Diplomats who evade capture and are taken-into the home of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor (Victor Garber). Time is ticking quickly and the CIA must rescue these Diplomats quickly before it is far too late. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) is a CIA Specialist called-upon to plan and execute a Rescue Strategy and after struggling with ideas, he gains inspiration watching Battle of the Planet of the Apes on Television one night.
Mendez calls upon the help of two Hollywood Heavyweights in Makeup Artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and Producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to produce a fictitious Sci-Fi Movie called Argo, which would require a shoot in an Shoot in an exotic location such as Tehran. The six Diplomats are handed false identities as a fictitious Canadian Film Crew scouting locations locally, and hence we have a flamboyant and uncharted exit route out of Iran under the guidance of Mendez, who himself struggles convincing his Superiors back home in the U.S. on his idea. Putting his own life on the line and also those of these six Diplomats, we fear for the worse as Iranian Government Officials intensively sniff-out their whereabouts.
I can without hesitation say that Affleck who already is a superb Actor, is an even better Director. The challenge with any Film about factual events is that we already known the ending, but masterfully he manipulates our senses so that never for a moment do we feel safe until the absolute final moment. The intensity in Argo is unbearable at moments and as is the case with any Film, we need something to root for. Affleck goes beyond this and gives us plenty to cheer for.
Goodman and Arkin make a fantastic Duo, at once making it a tight match for Best Supporting Actor this Awards Season. Particularly, I was impressed with Scoot McNairy and Clea Duvall as ill-fortuned Newlyweds, Joe and Kathy Stafford. You haven’t been impressed until see McNairy rattling-off a Storyboard complete with Sound Effects in Farsi, going all-out to convince Iranian Government Officials on the legitimacy of his claims.
I am ready with tickets in-hand for a second ride on this Roller Coaster – a deserving Best Picture Contender many times over. Argo is now in theatres, via Warner Bros.