Argo (2012)

Argo (2012)

Between 1978 and 1980, a group of militarised Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Iran, taking the occupants hostage. Unbeknownst to most of the rest of the world, a smaller group managed to escape, with some eventually seeking refuge in the Canadian Ambassador's residence. A plan, known as the Canadian Caper, was concocted between Canada and the CIA in order to rescue the diplomats under the guise of a film crew. The film they were supposedly working on was called Argo, which lends its name to this dramatisation of the events.

In Argo (this film, the real film), the lead role of Tony Mendez, the CIA operative in charge of extracting the diplomats, is played by Ben Affleck, who turns his hand to directing the film as well. Alongside Affleck are a smattering of other household names including Bryan Cranston (who plays Mendez's superior) and John Goodman (who plays John Chambers, a Hollywood make-up artist who is credited with setting up the fake film).

On the face of it, Argo is a standard action flick, albeit backed up by an incredible real story. You are treated to a lengthy background to the US/Iran relationship to set the scene before the film hits hard with the tension outside the US Embassy. Unless you are familiar with the story - and granted there are still plenty of people who will remember it appearing on the news - it is portrayed as an extremely tense hostage drama, perhaps like Assault on Precinct 13.

However, as Tony Mendez is introduced, the film takes a sharp turn towards spy thriller, wrapping you up in both his personal life - with his estranged wife and child - and his professional life. The film continues this switching of genre throughout until its phenomenally tense final act.

The escape from Iran is not only the whole purpose of the film, but it is a sequence that is so well crafted that you will find yourself on the edge of your seat; likely screaming at the screen. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck looks as calm and controlled on camera and the film benefits from this in his role behind the camera.

Obviously the events in the film have been hugely dramatised - the role of other Embassies have been diminished and the focus is on the CIA rather than the cooperation between the US and Canadian agencies. However, as a work of fiction loosely based on an incredible real life story, there are few films that come close to what Argo accomplishes.

5 stars

Comments

  1. I haven't seen it, but I've heard loads of goods things about it.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - The Great War

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  2. It’s a great movie in its own right.

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  3. Great movie! Good luck with your A to Z!

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  4. Sounds like an interesting movie.

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Anubis

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