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Movie Review: Argo

Released in October of 2012, Argo was director Ben Affleck’s third film. With a budget of just over $44 million, the film starred Affleck as a CIA exfiltration expert, Bryan Cranston as his supervisor, John Goodman as a Hollywood makeup artist, and Alan Arkin as a major film producer. The film is based on a true story.

After the United States agrees to shelter the recently deposed Shah of Iran, protesters gather and militants storm the US embassy in Tehran. The embassy staff is taken hostage, but six manage to excape and take refuge at the house of the Canadian ambassador. Tony Mendez (Affleck), an expert in the art of exfiltration, is called in to try to figure out how to get the six out of the country. He comes up with a plan to use a fake movie as a cover for his entry into Iran and plans to disguise the six as a film crew scouting locations. Mendez contacts Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers (Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Arkin) for help creating the fake movie. Together, they set up a phony film studio, publicize the fake movie, and successfully establish the pretense of Argo, a Star Wars-esque movie set in the Middle East. Armed only with some movie posters and his wits, Mendez ventures into Iran to attempt to free the hostages. If he blows his cover, nobody will be able to save him.

Personally, I enjoyed watching Argo. Ben Affleck, normally not one of my favorite actors, was excellent at portraying an impulsive, moody CIA agent. While occasionally interspersed with comedy, mostly coming from Alan Arkin’s character, the suspense is palpable at many moments during the film. While not exactly an intellectual film by any means, Argo was particularly succesful at keeping me on the edge of my seat for the full two hours. After some background research on the events depicted in the movie, I realized it was fairly rife with historical inaccuracies, but the end product was surprisingly good. Unfortunately, though, the timing of the film was not particularly good. Iran-US relations are at a low point, and the film is not particularly fair to the Iranian people. While not accurate historically, Argo is still an excellent film that will keep you absorbed in its action.

Written by Will Morris’16



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