Argo (2012)

339c3-argo2012posterDirected and starring Ben Affleck, this historical thriller is based on the real events revolving around the Iranian Hostage Crisis that erupted in 1979. After a brief interlude, we are thrown right into the fray outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran where nationalists are protesting vehemently. They break in and it becomes frantic insides as files must be burned and help must be found.

 Soon they are overrun and 69 hostages are taken, however, six Americans were able to escape and then seek refuge with the Canadian ambassador. From that point on the CIA must figure out how to get them out as they monitor the tense situation from home. All ideas seem doomed to failure, and soon an ex-filtration specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) is brought in. He has one wild idea, but it is the only one with a chance. 

With the help of a Hollywood makeup artist and film producer, he begins to create a fake movie so he can get the six out as part of a movie crew scoping out exotic locations. With this daring plan in mind the sci-fi film Argo is born, and Mendez heads to Iran. He must race against the clock because the Revolutionaries are near to discovering that some Americans are missing. Furthermore, his plan leaves the refugees skeptical and scared. Mendez is able to get them all on board as part of the film crew, and he preps them with fake Canadian identities, passports, and rapid-fire interrogations. Everyone is tense as they get ready for the day of departure because so many things could go wrong. The CIA shuts down the operation, but Mendez is adamant to keep on as planned. 

Despite some setbacks, interrogation, and near catastrophes, they miraculously make it to their flight and after one last tense moment, they enter airspace, officially safe, mission complete, and able to drink alcoholic beverages again. The six return to the U.S. amidst much fanfare and Tony Mendez returned an unsung hero. 

I found this film entertaining, tense, and fascinating. This is a part of American and international history that is seemingly glossed over and it needs to be known. I felt the film created an atmosphere that reflected the 1970s very well whether it was news broadcasts, sponsor spots for the Love Boat, mentions of John Wayne, or allusions to such films as Network, Kramer vs. Kramer, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes. 

I know films like Argo can never be completely accurate, but it is amazing how close so many of the actors looked to their real-life counterparts. Furthermore, I did not feel I was being fed one side of the story. As with any international situation, both Iran and the U.S. were at fault. Ultimately, there was a happy resolution on January 21, 1981, and Mendez finally gained recognition.
4.5/5 Stars

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