Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Inflamed by the United States decision to offer safe haven to their despised Shah, tensions mount in Iran, culminating in the storming of the American embassy in Tehran in September, 1979. During the melee in which 52 Americans were captured and held hostage for over a year, a group of six were able to escape and find refuge at the home of the Canadian ambassador. As their situation grows ever more tenuous by the day, a CIA extraction specialist (Ben Affleck) begins concocting a hair-brained scheme to safely smuggle out his charges. "Argo" is the latest film to redefine Ben Affleck's career it is a sound, intricately detailed thriller which he handles tremendously as both director and star. In addition to his nuanced turn as CIA agent Tony Mendez, he is given great support by Bryan Cranston, finally in a role that suits him as a hardened fellow operative, as well as John Goodman and Alan Arkin who provided comic relief as Hollywood B-movie makers who figure into Affleck's cover scheme. The extended final sequence is anticlimactic up until a point, and doesn't follow through on the promise of the extraordinary opening embassy storming sequence (which deftly blends with stock footage). "Argo" has been generating tremendous buzz, and although I found that it flew but didn't quite soar, it is another leap in the right direction for Affleck.