The true story of a top secret CIA operation to extract six hostage
from Iran using the cover of a fake sci-fi movie production.
Directed by Ben Affleck
Written by Chris Terrio
Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy,
Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler
Based on the books Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled
Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History and The Master of Disguise by Antonio Mendez and the magazine article "The Great Escape:
How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans
from Tehran" by Joshuah Bearman
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay,
Best Film Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin),
Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
Being cast as Batman was the worst thing that ever happened to Ben Affleck. It erased all the goodwill he'd earned with fans and drove him to make a series of terrible decisions, which in turn destroyed his marriage to Jennifer Garner and led him back to Jennifer Lopez, turning him into Hollywood's douchebag once again. But after the release of Gone Baby Gone, people started turning their heads and looking at Affleck differently, like he was a promising director. Then The Town cemented it, then Argo won him Best Picture. It's a damn shame that streak did not continue, because Affleck was on the verge of becoming one of the most talented filmmakers in the business. Then, of course, Batman happened. Argo may not have deserved to be called Best Picture, but it's still an intense thriller that depicts one of the most dangerous secret ops in American history with grace and respect.
In 1979, a coup in Iran led to a dangerous mob taking over the American embassy in Tehran. Six Americans escaped and were given shelter by the Canadian ambassador. But the clock was ticking, and soon the Iranians would know they were missing some hostages. Back in the U.S., the C.I.A. concocted a plot to send Tony Mendez (Affleck), one of their best extraction agents, to Tehran under the guise of a film producer scouting locations for a fake sci-fi adventure called Argo. He'd then bring fake credentials for the six Americans, who would pose as his film crew. It was so crazy that it was nearly aborted, but it got the green light at the last minute. While the film does downplay how much the Canadian government was involved, and I would've appreciated a Hispanic actor as Mendez, Affleck's impressive direction keeps the audience invested from start to finish. And that finale is remarkably tense. So many little things had to go right for this op to succeed.
I think Argo holds up. It's a great story based on declassified C.I.A. documents, which makes me wonder how many other insane but true operations are hiding in the agency's file cabinets. I feel bad for Affleck and what he's become. There was a time where he was on his way to becoming a directing titan. He just kept embarrassing himself and now he's back to being a joke. But we'll always have Argo.