Argo


Argo
Release date: October 19, 2012 (India)
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman

Amidst the sounds of Sultans of Swing and When The Levee Breaks and Dance The Night Away of the ’70s, a serious hostage situation is focused upon. Ben Affleck presents the Iranian conflict with a literal Hollywood punch.

Argo has the U.S. Embassy in Tehran under siege of the Iranian mercenaries and fifty officials are held hostage for a period of more than a year. Meanwhile, six employees manage to escape with Iranian applicants for American visas through the backdoor. Their identity records are incinerated and shredded to hide the fact that they’ve managed to run away from that scenario. The six escaped officials seek asylum at the Canadian ambassador’s residence.

The CIA is in need for an immediate rescue plan to get them back to their homeland and for that purpose they bring specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) on the scene. Faced with absurd return routes for them, Mendez suggests they produce a fake sci-fi film on the lines of Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, Star Wars and Star Trek. Then starts the secretive assembling of a false production crew and office for the very fake film.

The four member lawful gang of Hollywood prosthetic artist John Chambers (John Goodman), producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), Mendez’s supervisor Jack O’Donell (Bryan Cranston) and Mendez himself, float a film studio and create a whole script and a string of characters to enact the entire screenplay at a press conference just to lend credibility to their movie. On the other hand,the Iranian captors try to get the shredded documents in place to check if any of the captives have escaped promising a tight finish to the end.

Argo is Affleck’s baby and with him present in almost all of the film’s powerful moments, his character Mendez is a smooth operator with never getting into unrealistic action sequences. Except for the side personal track of his separated wife and son there’s not much emotional questioning of his persona. Goodman and Arkin have an enjoyable chemistry in the first half where the most memorable line , probably is, “Argo fuck yourself”.

The portrayal of the major players of the plot isn’t slick mean straight, instead it captures the strong nationalist sentiment of the Americans and mixes the real-life footage from Iranian protests and White House speeches giving it a true period film feel. Let go for a few cinematic liberties into the realistic events, Argo is a tight and entertaining film right from the start. Catch it as soon as it lasts in your neighboring theaters along with the current plethora of releases.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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