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Monday, December 10, 2012

ARGO

By D.E,.Levine

In his first directing effort, Ben Affleck has done an outstanding job.  Taken from a true incident that took place during the Iranian hostage drama of 1979 when fifty-two Americans were taken hostage in the American Embassy in Tehran,  six other Americans escaped and found refuge in the personal residence of the Canadian ambassador.

Since the Islamic revolutionaries were unaware of the six hiding with the Canadians, the CIA attempted to come up with a plan for rescuing them.

Unimpressed by the CIA plan, exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) devises a slightly unbelievable scheme where he'll pose as a Hollywood producer, go to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations, claim the six Americans are part of his crew, and fly them out of the country.

The scheme is so far-fetched that nobody would believe it's a rescue plan, so with the consent of the CIA, Mendez activates his plan.

Unlike the current selection of thrillers where there's lots of action and things frequently get blown up, this is a thriller where the suspense is in the quiet deception.  With the probability of being discovered and arrested at any time, and with lots of close calls, this is gripping entertainment.

Among the stellar cast are John Goodman as a makeup artist and Alan Arkin as a Hollywood producer who Mendez bring in to pad his cover story.  With these two adding comic relief and a secondary story line,  Arkin's Lester Siegel agrees to lend his name to a sci-fi script called "Argos" that is set in the Middle East.  Declaring that if he's going to make a fake film it must be a fake hit, these two are hilarious.

Since the outcome is part of history and could be easily Googled, there would seem to be no need for this film.  But, this is a film that's so well done and so entertaining that it's more fun to watch played out on the big screen.