Ben Affleck directs and stars in what could be one of the most unbelievable stories ever told that is based on true events, and I am not talking about The Possession.
From Gone Baby Gone to The Town, Ben Affleck’s directing streak continues with Argo and I think this is his finest movie to date. The movie never skips a heartbeat from the time the movie started up to the film’s final moments.
Set in 1979-1980 during the Iran hostage crisis, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans. During that time, the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point and militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. In the midst of all the heart-pounding and hair-raising chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the Canadian Embassy. Of course they could not stay there for long and it’s only a matter of time before the six are found and likely killed, so a CIA “exfiltration” must be done courtesy of specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck). The risky plan to get them safely out of the country is one of the most improbable rescue operations I have ever heard. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies!
Tony Mendez’s best proposed escape plan is to create a fictional movie called Argo and have the 6 Americans act as the Canadian production crew for this film.
For the U.S. Government and even for the 6 Americans, the mission is too far-fetched, leaving us–the audience–at the edge of our seats the whole time. The movie is unmistakably stressful, but to add some comic relief are John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) who play the Hollywood team tasked to create the fake movie. The rest of the support cast did an absolutely fantastic job as well.
However, the star of this movie goes to none other than Ben Affleck and his incredible directorial job. The movie is equally balanced with humour and suspense, mixed with a vastly driven story. Affleck manages to create a cohesive and excellent transition from a comical first part of creating a pseudo-film to the unbearable life-and-death tension in the movie’s second half. I could not help but to break a sweat and to hold my breath during the climactic checkpoint encounter. Affleck has become a force to be reckoned with both in front and behind the camera.
This movie is oh so good. Argo is definitely one of the best movies of the year, if not THE best movie of 2012. This movie deserves all the Oscar buzz and I would not be surprised if Argo gets nominated and eventually wins.
5 out of 5 stars