8:00 PM, 28th February, 2013
In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was attacked and invaded by revolutionaries and the embassy workers were taken hostage. Six avoided capture, escaping to the Canadian Ambassador’s residence but were then trapped, forced to stay indoors or risk arrest. Argo is the story of the audacious plan exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Affleck) devises to rescue them: pose as the crew of a fake Canadian film scouting for locations in Iran and smuggle them out.
As a director, Ben Affleck continues to flourish, having produced two excellent (and highly recommended) films already (Gone Baby Gone and The Town). He also still makes a compelling lead, playing a man bemused by his surroundings yet fully aware of the perils of the hostages’ situation and the burden of his responsibility for their safe return. He is supported by outstanding performances; particularly by Goodman (The Artist) as Mendez’s Hollywood contact, Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) as their fake film’s reluctant producer and Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the head of CIA operations who bears final responsibility for the international ploy.
Argo is a tense, enveloping story that is all the more fascinating for being true. It’s a thoroughly engaging film that manages to be both nail-bitingly intense and surprisingly funny as it contrasts the dangerous espionage mission with Hollywood’s superficial inner workings. Despite a few ‘Hollywood movie’ moments towards the end, overall this was definitely one of the best movies of 2012 and worth seeing on the big screen of Coombs.