Widely tipped by many to be a contender for 2013’s Best Film at the Academy, this story (based on true events) tells of an audacious plan to rescue 6 diplomats from a recently revolutionised and dangerous Iran. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) was a real-life CIA operative who was tasked with exfiltrating the six, who had escaped from the US Tehran embassy when it was attacked by militants of the Ayatollah Khomeini (Fifty other embassy staff weren’t so lucky and were held prisoner for over 400 days) Mendez arrives in Tehran to find them hiding in the Canadian Embassy. He comes with a plan to disguise them as movie makers on a location scout for a sci-fi movie like Star Wars, but called Argo.

This is your typical nail-biting thriller not too dissimilar to any cold war drama, where a good half an hour of the drama is spent at the country’s passport control. Plenty of forged documents, need to know secrets and people at the very, very top be they Presidents or Ayatollahs. And it’s 1979 so expect 1979 imagery to feature heavily – smoking on a plane, ridiculously thick and square glasses, awful facial hair and haircuts, terrible decor. Also Star Wars merchandise and even a shot of Manhattan, looking like the promised land on the wall of the embassy, complete with Twin Towers. “Poignant” I sigh.

The film is a marvellous piece of work from Affleck who not only stars as the lead character but directs, no mean task. I’d recommend you watch it. By the end of the film, I couldn’t help reflect on the strong patriotism of the movie. I wondered how much of the story had been embellished and whether that was for dramatic effect or whether it was because it was an American movie. But as the credits roll, a montage of parallel images taken from the movie and from it’s real life historical counterpart are played, leaving you in no doubt as to the attention to detail. And if I wanted a documentary then I’d be foolish to think this film would do. All in all, I think the production side should definitely see a nomination, if nothing else. If it does get a best film nomination from the Academy, it’ll be because “the movie business” helped save the hostages! But that’s more a comment on Hollywood’s mawkishness.

Posted in 2012

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