Argo is a sit on the front of your seat thriller that is based on a true story. It has a great plot featuring great acting. It will grab your attention and keep it. It is nominated for several Academy Awards including Editing, Best Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Why it isn’t nominated for Best Director is a mystery because I think Ben Affleck did an excellent job both acting in this film, and directing this film. I saw Argo as a part of the Best Picture Showcase at the AMC Theaters. This is a movie showcase where they show all the best picture nominees over two weekends.
Plot: Back in 1979-1981 we had the Iranian hostage crisis. This was an event when everyone in our embassy in Iran was kidnapped and held hostage. However, six people were able to escape the embassy and found sanctuary in the home of the Canadian Ambassador, Kevin Taylor. The CIA along with Canadian government are charged with getting the six people out of Iran safely. Iran is in such upheaval that there are very few cover story options to use in order to get those six Americans out of Iran. Tony Mendez, a CIA consultant on extractions, comes up with a plan. He suggests that the Americans pose as a Canadian film crew scouting places to film a since fiction movie. Tony will fly in with the passports and necessary background information to create the cover story, and fly out with the six hostages. In order to do that, he will have to create a fake movie and fake movie production company. This will take some contacts, creativity, and luck. As the time gets closer for the extraction, Tony’s CIA team starts to lose faith in the plan, and the Iranian government gets closer to finding out that the six Americans are missing from the hostages. Any little thing going wrong with the plan could mean the death of Tony and the other Americans. Will they make it out alive? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
Argo is based on a true story that was classified until 1997 so you know the plot is going to be good. But they were also very accurate as well. They got actors that look remarkably like the real people from the incident both for the agents in the CIA and for the hostages. They also recreated pictures from that incident with scenes in the movie. It was remarkable to see the likeness between the real event and the movie.
The acting was also very well done. Ben Affleck was great as the CIA agent with the idea, and the level headedness to figure out this extraction and get it done. I think it was one of his better roles. His character shows a lot of range with caring for his family, being scared during the extraction, and being seemingly merciless with the hostages when they are learning their cover story. Alan Arkin (nominated for best supporting actor) plays a producer who agrees to produce the make believe film. He is a funny character says what he means and holds nothing back. He was a great character complete with great acting. John Goodman plays a make-up artist who has made costumes for the CIA in the past. He puts Tony into contact with the right people in Hollywood to pull his shame movie off. Victor Garber was great as the Canadian Ambassador, Kevin Taylor. He has the right look and personality so that you believe he could be an Ambassador. He is a man who believes it is right to help the six Americans. He is very smart and does a lot to help them escape. He is also a very brave man. The actors who played the six Americans did a fantastic job of giving each of the characters their own unique personality and a unique reaction to the stress of their situation. Tate Donovan plays the older member of the party, Clea DuVall plays the calm yet scared Cora Lijek, Scoot McNairy plays Joe Stafford. Joe Stafford is the only one who objects to the plan and doesn’t want to participate. His wife, Kathy Stafford played by Kerry Bishe finally convinces him to go along. Christopher Denham plays Mark Lijek the husband to Cora, and Rory Cochrane plays Lee Schatz. Each of these actors were made to eerily resemble the actual six hostages. All the actors did a great job selling their characters so that you believe that they could be the real people they represent.
I really enjoyed this film. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I kept encouraging them to make it. You get invested in these characters and you really want this charade to work and for them to get home safely. I love Argo’s attention to detail. Everyone and everything looks like the original event. They even re-created some shots based off photographs of the event. It is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, and I have already pre-ordered it to add to my movie collection. If you like action and suspense films or films based on true stories then you should enjoy this film.