Argo: A Cord review
It’s 2003, and the box office failure Gigli has kicked Ben Affleck’s acting career to a standstill. After experiencing a slew of duds until 2007, Affleck decides to make his directorial debut with the Boston-based crime thriller Gone Baby Gone. Affleck further seeks to keep in touch with his Boston-roots by directing, co-writing and starring in 2010’s hit, The Town.
Fast-forward to October 2012 and you have Argo, Affleck’s most-recent production, in which he directs and stars in. This is an incredibly relevant film depicting the pinnacle of Iranian-American tensions during the 1979-1980 revolution in Iran.
The plot revolves around six American diplomats who avoided being taken as hostages by Iranian extremists at the U.S. embassy in November, 1979. They proceeded to take sanctuary at the house of Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor, in Tehran, Iran.
In order to extract the six American diplomats, the CIA enlisted the services of exfiltration operative Mendez, played by Affleck, to extract the six safely and return them to the United States. Mendez disguises the six American diplomats as part of the fake “Argo” film crew in an attempt to help them flee Iran.
The entire operation become known as “The Canadian Caper,” and serves as a constant reminder of successful cooperation between Canada and the United States. Moreover, the film as a whole serves as a reminder that not everything arriving out of Hollywood is part of a recycled or rebooted formula.
Thankfully, Affleck proves that by bringing a human approach to a contentious area of history, it demonstrates not all political thrillers require car chases and explosions erupting behind our beloved heroes.
The characters in Argo are real, even if the movie within the movie is fake, as the tagline suggests. They are naturally portrayed as individuals in which we should all strive to admire as representations of patriotism and the belief in ones own ability to rise above dire circumstances.
Affleck has crafted a claustrophobic political thriller that, through the use of tightly confined cinematography, makes the viewer feel like they’re in the heated riots in the back alleyways of Tehran. If you’re not sold already, the film features a supporting cast of some fan favourites, including Alan Arkin and John Goodman as the Hollywood producers of Argo.
Together they work to add a light-hearted tone to an otherwise very serious film.