Could this be my new catchphrase and insult of the month? I think so, and it’s all thanks to stand-out film of the year Argo.
Ben Affleck has once again proven his talents behind the camera are equal to, no in fact better than his skills as an actor. It’s a great piece of film-making; gritty, tense, heart-warming, and inspirational. And it’s full of great performances. It boasts an impressive cast that includes Ben Affleck as CIA agent Tony Mendez sent in to revolutionary Iran to extract six US Embassy workers; Bob Anders (Tate Donovan), Cora Lijek (Clea Duvall), Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy), Lee Schatz (Rory Cochrane), Mark Lijek (Christopher Denham), and Kathy Stafford (Kerry Bishe), hiding in the house of Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber).
From the opening scene, set amid a swelling crowd of rioters outside the US Embassy in Iran, tension builds and quickly escalates. Its edge of your seat viewing from the beginning and by the end you’re hanging off your seat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and probably every time I watch something based on fact, and that is I love watching anything based on a true story. Argo cleverly and effectively injects archive footage of the rioting and news coverage into the dramatisation which adds a level of credibility, greater heart, and an increased curiosity for those who don’t know what happens at the end. Seeing real-life footage of something so dramatic instantly draws in your emotional involvement. But it’s not all serious talk and straight faces, though 90% of it is. John Goodman and Alan Arkin add an element of humour as Hollywood special FX guy John Chambers (Goodman) and ‘has-been’ film director Lester Siegel (Arkin), brought in by Mendez (Affleck) to set up a fake movie. The reason, so they can go to Iran pretending to scout shooting locations and bring back the hidden US personnel as extra film crew. Fake film title Argo.
It’s a great film, one I’d happily pay to see again and will definitely be buying on DVD. It’s a stand out film with stand out performances and a great turn from Ben Affleck as both actor and director. He’s definitely a director to look out for now, with a small but impressive list of films on his résumé that includes Gone Baby Gone and The Town.