I was skeptical about seeing Argo. A movie based on a “Canadian caper” just didn’t sound very appealing to me. Happily, I was proven wrong. Argo featured a great ensemble cast. The script was funny, and the suspense remained high, despite the fact that all of us know how the story ends.
The Ben Affleck-directed flick opens in 1979 Tehran, Iran, where the U.S. embassy is under attack, and when raided, hostages are taken. Six diplomats manage to escape and take shelter in the home of a Canadian ambassador. The CIA intends to get the six diplomats out, but there’s just one problem: if it’s revealed that they are American, the diplomats will most likely be captured and killed.
So, the CIA (in a joint effort with Canadian secret service) devise a plan for a fake Canadian-made movie called “Argo”, which is scheduled for filming in Iran. One CIA agent goes undercover as a filmmaker, not only securing necessary documents like fake Canadian passports, but securing funding and all other details that would usually be required to make a film.
Ben Affleck stars as CIA hero Tony Mendez, who hatches this crazy-brilliant plan. Brian Cranston shows his restraint in playing Mendez’s boss at the CIA, as does Canadian actor Victor Garber, who plays the quietly compassionate Canadian ambassador. For me, stand-out performances were given by Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who played Hollywood duo Lester Siegel and John Chambers, two heads in the movie-making business who helped Mendez execute his story.
Argo doesn’t delve into a lot of the issues that surface in the film, and some details, like the fact that every other male diplomat either has a Ned Flanders-type moustache or big ’70s wire-frame glasses, come off as a bit hokey. But the movie is a well-paced, well-acted piece of work that’s entertaining from start to end. If you’re looking for an enjoyable movie that will appeal to most audiences, Argo‘s a solid pick.