Argo – Review

Set in the late 1970s Argo is based on the true story of a CIA operation that freed six diplomats from Iran during a revolt against the American embassy. The operation? Well to create a completely fake film production and disguise the six staff as members of the film crew.

Ben Affleck stars (as Tony Mendez) and directs in this film that recreates the now declassified ‘Hollywood option’. It stars Bryan Cranston as Tony’s CIA supervisor, Jack O’Donnell and John Goodman and Alan Arkin as the Hollywood contacts, John Chambers and Lester Siegel. Tate Donovan (as Robert Anders), Clea DuVall (as Cora Amburn-Lijek), Chirstopher Denham (as Mark Lijek), Scoot McNairy (as Joseph Stafford), Kerry Bishé (as Kathleen Stafford) and Rory Cochrane (as Lee Schatz) round out the cast as the six ‘houseguests’ who are protected by Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, played by Victor Garber.

The film is funny, insightful and suspenseful. I found myself very interested in the story despite the six ‘houseguests’ being more or less uninteresting maybe even whiny. The American stationed side of the operation (including the team at Hollywood) was much more interesting. Hell, even the Canadian ambassador was a better character. Now I understand that the portrayal is probably true to story but maybe just a little more vigour in the acting would have made it better.

Acting aside, this film is definitely one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Such an interesting story that until I heard about the film being made I had never heard of (Ah the life of a young person ay?). Affleck successfully directs this film. He pulls off the suspense expected from the story but successfully adds some humor and a few light-hearted moments to make this a very enjoyable mix of emotions.

I recommend this film for anyone who is keen to learn a little about American history, the CIA an maybe even the film industry (just a little).

4.5 stars

Argo is in cinemas now.

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