Oscar-winning Argo is the true tale of a CIA rescue mission posing as a science fiction film crew. Luke Brookman finds out what all the fuss is about…
The low Down: Out now DVD, Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, tells the incredible story of a CIA rescue operation during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979. Tony Mendez (Affleck) headed up the operation to rescue six U.S diplomats by disguising them as a Canadian film crew shooting a science fiction film.
Review: Argo is Ben Affleck’s most ambitious picture to date. The director has crafted two very intense and well structured thrillers in Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Tension is his strength; he knows when to place a bomb and when to set it off. This tension is ever present in Argo, from the early conception of the rescue mission to its closing stages, it never slips. But what sets this film apart from his previous is the laughs. Affleck confidently and effective elides the tension and drama with comedy, creating fun but three dimensional characters that are a delight to watch.
Affleck pits the odds against Mendez, emphasising the great challenge this lone man is up against. He plays on the sympathy of the character by presenting an emotional back story, leaving us forever on his side. We all love an underdog.
The script is a triumph with action, suspense, politics and comedy blended together to great effect. The performances help emphasise and mix these diverse tones. Alan Arkin, in particular, is a pleasure to watch. But this is Affleck’s film; it takes an experienced and intelligent man to craft such a broad and suspenseful political thriller.
The Best – The final act presents an expertly edited sequence that builds the tension to excruciating heights. Affleck has transformed into one of the most impressive directing talents of his generation.
The Worst – Some might find it disappointing that the remaining 44 hostages are left to the sideline, as the focus stays predominantly on the six diplomats, with the harrowing ordeal of the 44 only hinted at.
Verdict – Argo is a very well constructed political thriller that engages and entertains. The story is maturely crafted mixing incredible tension with witty humour; a combination so few films have managed to deliver.
Celluloid Influences – Persepolis + Munich = Argo