Affleck continues directorial success:?Argo? relives espionage and political turmoil in Iran
Matthew Modica '14, Arts and Entertainment Editor
November 6, 2012
Filed under Arts & Entertainment
?Argo? builds on the suspense of a politically-fused conflict loosely based on events that transpired in Iran during the Carter administration, along with the constant threat of death at the hands of an anti-American government. Coming off of last year?s impressive crime drama, ?The Town,? Ben Affleck?s career in the business has taken a dramatic turn from his ?Gigli? days into a more serious realm of artistry. From the very beginning of the film, ?Argo? grabs hold and refuses to let go. Perhaps reflective of just how little the tension in the Middle East has changed over the past thirty years, the film opens with a crowd of angry Iranians surrounding the American Embassy in wake of the former Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, being deposed from the state. The tension erupts, causing the mob to overtake the embassy and seize a number of American citizens. However, four Americans manage to escape into the crowded streets of Tehran. The four seek shelter and protection from the nearby Canadian embassy. Ben Affleck, an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, develops a plan to attempt to save the four Americans from their entrapment in Iran. Affleck teams with Lester Siegel and John Chambers (Alan Arkin and John Goodman respectively) to develop the phony plot of filming a science-fiction ?Star Wars?-type movie in the heart of Iran to attempt a rescue of the trapped four.
While several newspapers and media have pointed to the lack of significant historical credibility of the film, ?Argo? remains close to the declassified reports of the Clinton era and delivers a unique look at a time that struck a nerve with the entire world. America was on the brink of a military solution in Iran, with its own people trapped and threatened in the foreign country. Perhaps the most intriguing part about this movie is that despite the viewers? knowledge that every citizen survives in the end, the suspense is intense and seat-gripping throughout the production. While Affleck gives a temporary face to the fear and perhaps evil character in the movie, the real villain remains the emotion itself. The movie comes out in a tension-filled time, set in a region that is just as politically unstable as it was thirty years ago. Moreover, the movie also sets the stage of the political arena, detailing in the film?s inception how some Iranian leaders were appointed by the United States. ?Much of the tension utilized by the movie is a projection of the political climate of the region, cleverly set up by Affleck in an impressive directorial effort.
The movie?s most powerful source of entertainment lies in impressive performances in some of its smaller but important roles. John Goodman and Alan Arkin act as a duo of the most prominent Hollywood producers of the age. Their humor and wit act as a much needed pick-me-up for a movie heavy in anxiety. Victor Garber also plays a fantastic role as a prominent figure in the Canadian embassy in the movie, hiding the four Americans after escaping from the mob attacking the American embassy.
Affleck?s directorial effort is impressive, creating an anxiety fueled political thriller that is a must-see for the season.