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Argo Review: The Resurrection of Affleck’s Career?

Argo, its one of those seasonal ‘Oscar-worthy’ movies that comes out around the end of the year, its chock-full of political discord, overbearing drama, and all the “based off of a true story-ness” you can handle. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect what with Iran appearing in the news and now here’s a movie about an Iranian hostage crisis that went down in the late 70’s! There’s just one major difference between Argo and the plethora of Oscar-level political films I’ve viewed. You’ll actually have a great time watching this.

Ben Affleck’s career has taken a sensational turn over the past couple of years, going from the terrible actor who ruined Daredevil for us, to a phenomenal director who’s movies (3 at this point) have received high critical acclaim from fans and critics alike.
His third and latest film, Argo, enlightens us on the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis in which a young Iranian revolutionary group takes over the US embassy in Tehran and captures pretty much everybody. Six embassy workers manage to escape and take refuge at the home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor (played by Victor Garber.)
Affleck’s character, Tony Mendez, is a CIA operative called in to come up with an extraction plan to evacuate the six US embassy workers before the Iranian militia finds, captures, and ultimately brutally kills them. Mendez eventually composes a plan to enter Iran as a Canadian film crew and have the six embassy workers pose as crew members for a ‘fake’ sci-fi flick called ‘Argo.’ He creates this fake movie with the help of Hollywood make-up artist, John Chambers (John Goodman) and meagerly successful film producer, Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin.)

One thing you REALLY enjoy about this movie is the constant sense of humor that the movie maintains. The interactions between the CIA namely Mendez and his supervisor played by Bryan Cranston, the creation of the fake movie, and the chemistry between John Goodman’s and Alan Arkin’s characters all make this film incredibly enjoyable and funny. I love how the film manages to bring in humor whilst establishing the intensity of the situation and risks they need to take.

And it does get intense as HELL, especially towards then end. So great performances are guaranteed. Ben Affleck’s attention to detail in recreating this event and its time period in the late 70’s is phenomenal, the set pieces are all gloriously authentic.
Its eerily surreal just how much the actors mimic the appearance of their real life counterparts.
This movie is an exceptionally authentic period piece, it really feels like you’re watching a 70’s film, even going so far as to use the old Warner Bros. logo in the beginning. Everyone is acting like crazy and you really get reeled in by these characters and the crisis they’re dealing with. The film approaches the hostage situation from a more human and personal level and, for me, it makes the story easier to buy into by keeping it focused on the people and not the politics. I dunno, it works.

Watching this makes you wonder just what Ben Affleck did to turn his career around the way he has. The man’s work is quickly becoming something you pay attention to now, and as a director you look forward to seeing more of his work and seeing how he’ll come into his own to developing his own visual style and niche. The man really deserves credit having released his third film and is still on par with the success of his last two movies. We all shouldn’t be surprised to see this movie at the Oscar nominations. Keep up the great work, Affleck!

Video and images courtesy of Argo.

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