Argo Review: A Thrilling True Story Wonderfully Directed by Ben Affleck

Photo Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/9529160/Toronto-Film-Festival-2012-Argo-review.html

Ben Affleck proves himself once again as a capable director and creates one of the most unique movies of the year.

As the end credits for Argo roll, we get little tidbits of where everyone ended up and one of them says that the story of the film was declassified in 1997. Fifteen years ago. It took Hollywood this long to get this incredible story out to cinemagoers. And it was definitely worth the wait.

Argo follows the Iranian hostage Crisis that took place from 1979 to 1981 as six escapees from the U.S. Embassy in Iran hide out in the home of the Canadian ambassador. To extract them, the CIA gets in cahoots with Hollywood producers to pretend they are Canadian filmmakers making a science fiction movie and in need of exotic locals. That’s quite a mouthful of a plot.

This asinine idea in a horrible situation would be too “out there” to even make a movie about if it weren’t true. Ben Affleck, sitting in the director’s chair again after the success of The Town, is fully aware of this and strikes a almost comedic, yet very tense tone. That is a thin line to walk, but Affleck never stumbles.

The story progresses at a lively pace with a lot of great one-liners and tense moments. The Hollywood sections are appropriately over the top. The third act is damn near impossible to blink during. It is the nature of this story that you get both.

If there is one problem with Argo it is that the story doesn’t demand too much from the actors. Affleck leads the cast and is naturally stoic throughout. None of the escapees really get a moment to stand out from each other. The best examples of acting here come from Bryan Cranston, who gets some nice moments towards the end, and Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who play the fake film’s director and producer respectively. They have great chemistry and get most of the film’s laughs.

But this is not a film that needs the best from its actors, it already has a remarkable story that anyone can enjoy. Both haunting and surprisingly comic, Affleck may have just one-uped himself. Argo is a real treat. Grade: A-

 

 

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