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Film Reviews Blog: ‘Argo’ Real Life Hollywood Tale

By Mikhail Chernyavsky
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What sounds like a farfetched plot requiring willing suspension of disbelief is the setting of Ben Affleck’s third directorial effort.

“Argo” is a captivating tale based loosely on the true events of the covert rescue mission known as the “Canadian Caper.”

In 1979, during the Iran hostage crisis, 52 Americans were held hostage a total of 444 days after a group of Iranian revolutionists took over the American Embassy in Tehran.

Six Americans escaped the swarm on the embassy, and the film tells the now declassified story of the five who took exile in the home of Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber).

Enter CIA agent Tony Mendez, a shaggy and bearded Affleck, who concocts an unorthodox plan to extract the five Americans under the ruse of a Hollywood film crew.

Mendez enlists the help of Academy Award-winning makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman), and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to create the cover of a fake production company producing the “Star Wars” rip off “Argo.”

Both are hilarious in their roles as two everyday Americans getting to play James Bond. An almost odd couple, Siegel being at the end of his career and Chambers still in the beginnings, the two serve as the film’s highlighted comedic relief and never fall flat delivering a joke.

Perhaps the greatest triumph of the film is Affleck’s portrayal of the era. Instead of glorifying and idealizing the days of old and letting the fashion and pop culture references control the film like most period pieces, he doesn’t make the era it’s own character. He simply uses the setting and allows the character’s fears and hopes, as well as the political tensions drive the film.

Finely cast, with even better acting, Affleck delivers his best performance yet, and shows that he is not only coming into his own as a director, but proves he can deliver.

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