By Aaron Moran (Ireland)
argo-13

 

‘It’s simple, we just pretend to make a Science-Fiction movie’

Argo is Ben Affleck’s third feature as a director, and with it he establishes himself as one of the most consistent mainstream drama directors working in America today. His other two features ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘The Town’ were both set in his hometown of Boston, a place he knows like the back of his hand and had a much simpler time shooting there compared to his latest film.

With Argo Affleck gives himself his biggest challenge yet with story that has so much more scope and ambition then his last films. Argo is based on a true story, and that information is vital to know before going in. If you viewed it without prior knowledge you could simply pass it off as biased pro-American nonsense, but every important scene in this film did happen. You only have to type it into your search box to read it yourself.

Argo starts off with an unnamed narrator filling in the back-story on all the events that you are going to witness in its two hour running time. It’s very simple, 6 American fugitives have taken refuge in a Canadian embassy while Iran is under siege from its citizens who are baying for the blood of their ex-president who has fled the country, and it’s up to the CIA to get them out.

Ben Affleck is Tony Mendez, a CIA operative whose job it is to get the fugitives out of the country. His ‘Best Bad Idea’ is to pretend that he and the fugitives are a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science-fiction epic called Argo. Along the way he recruits the great double act of John Goodman and Alan Arkin as two Hollywood insiders to help him make his fake movie seem believable.

There’s also excellent support from Bryan Cranston and Chris Messina who lead up the CIA strand of the plot. Affleck has rounded up a great cast and there all on top form with no one letting themselves down. The movie shifts tonally several times with starting out as hostage drama, then comic relief in Hollywood, and finally a tense thriller in the final stretch.

However the film is not perfect, it doesn’t always grip you in the way a movie like this should and it never feels like the stakes are that high. If you find yourself not caring about certain characters you will start to lose interest.

Overall Affleck has managed to make a highly enjoyable, always entertaining but not always perfect thriller.

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