Review – Argo

Argo

Ben Affleck

2012, USA

Tehran, 1979. After the Iranian rebellion deposes the Shah, Mohammad Reza, the American government grants him protection. The riots that follow focus their vitriol on the US embassy. After six American embassy workers are able to escape, they find refuge with the Canadian Ambassador. A plan must be formulated to rescue them, and formulated it is: to develop a cover story that the escapees are filmmakers, location scouting for an upcoming science fiction film.

Ben Affleck knows what he needs to do in this industry. He’s been at the top (Good Will Hunting) and the bottom (Gigli) of the game and through all that experience he’s learnt how to keep afloat. Nowadays he’s keeping it low key and it’s working for him. He continues to keep his directing hit rate up with this slow-boiler thriller. He is a man with a system: find a good source, fill the cast with respected and talented character actors, keep the film making simple and direct. He also seems to be very good at directing himself. The film, from the 70’s inspired credit sequence onward, harks back to a time in Hollywood that many believe is its real golden age, and while I don’t think the film would hold up to the big hitters of that time it wouldn’t embarrass itself in front of them either, and who knows what we’ll be saying in 40 years time? Put simply it’s a smart, grown up piece of filmmaking, made for grownups and made well.

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