Ben Affleck‘s third feature-length effort “Argo” is like three movies in one. It’s a thriller, a political drama, and even a Hollywood satire. The fact that it seamlessly mixes in the latter — the comedy and near-absurdity of a fake Hollywood production — with the grave and somber do-or-die drama of American citizens trapped in Iran during the late 1970s Islamic revolution, is a testament to just how good of a director Affleck has become. We raved about the film in Telluride. It’s gripping, entertaining and funny, a slam dunk of a crowd-pleaser and yet a smart and engaging thriller in the classic ’70s mold (see “All The President’s Men,” “Three Days Of the Condor” and the like; yes, it’s very much in the spirit of that filmmaking). Here’s the synopsis.
Based on real events, the dramatic thriller “Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis, focusing on the little-known role that the CIA and Hollywood played—information that was not declassified until many years after the event. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, the Canadian and American governments ask the CIA to intervene. The CIA turns to their top “exfiltration” specialist, Tony Mendez, to come up with a plan to get the six Americans safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.
Co-starring Bryan Cranston (TV’s “Breaking Bad“), Oscar winner Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine“), and John Goodman (“Trouble With the Curve”). the main cast also includes Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler and Chris Messina. Due in theaters October 14, “Argo” could also have a good shot at Oscar nominations come the new year.