The Genuine Article.
120 Minutes. Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman & Alan Arkin. Director: Ben Affleck. Screenplay: Chris Terrio.
'Argo' a science fiction fantasy...or not as the declassified case may be. Based on the true story of the rescue of six U.S. diplomats by CIA operative Tony Mendez from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, this is one of the realest and best films you'll see all year or decade. Posing as a Canadian film crew making a Sci-Fi movie this out of this world idea seems too good to be true...but it's as real as it gets. More than just a tense and taught, nerve-wrecking thriller, this a necessary political education from actor/director Ben Affleck.
Who better to direct a story about a bad script leading to remarkable happenings then Affleck? The man who wrote his story of success along with Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting' was cruelly criticized for his acting work until he got behind the lens. Whilst people where making jokes and thinking this 'Daredevil' was riding the coat-tails of Jason Bourne, the world didn't know what a great director he really was. Swinging his career in a new direction with the classics 'Gone Baby Gone' and 'The Town' Affleck has already proved he's great and now with the amazing 'Argo' he puts himself in the line of Clint Eastwood and George Clooney in the next great actor/director ranks.
Affleck's already given us the ultimate action flick-with heart-with 'The Town' and like the two aforementioned big names he's dealt with some difficult issues. Clint has been known to deal head-on with the issues of crime against children in his later career but Ben went for it with his very first movie in the chair. Now like another one of his peers he looks to his political conscience. So much in fact that Clooney helps him out, collaborating with Grant Heslov for the first time since 'Good Night, and Good Luck' a black and white, thought-provoking newsroom film that felt like it's time. From the 70's aesthetic to the punctuated peril and genuine fear, Affleck has it down here with Eastwood subtly and Clooney smarts. Still the real sense of hope and faith run through this escape movie with a man who's truly inspired.
Affleck acts great too under his own direction with a quiet storm mix of calm courage and dedicated duty. He's not the only one all the way in this either. As the 'Malcolm' in the middle of all this 'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston almost steals the show with a performance that will make his silver screen stardom as big as his television one. Some real hilarious/meaningful support also comes from filmmakers John Goodman and Alan Arkin who are like a more pleasant version of those old guys from 'The Muppets' (and if you want a more accurate version Cranston tells us they're here too). This revolutionary ruse is played perfectly. From Canadian ambassador Victor Garber to the six brave diplomats played brilliantly.
It's Ben Affleck that brings it all together perfectly however, from the original 'Warner Bros' logo beginning, to the burnt out Hollywood hills sign of the times and fashioned look and feel of the seventies both in his home of America and abroad. The parallels between a nonsense science fiction script read through in Hollywood and a very serious, life threatening press conference in Iran (where more people turn up to the former) is provoking and profoundly done. With another classic to add to his legendary directing filmography-that only features three films-Ben Affleck's legacy is made here. With a film equal parts tense and inspiring, hostile and hopeful and lightly hilarious and heavily serious don't get it confused. There are no parallels to Ben Affleck's career. He is no longer the next great filmmaker of our times. He's it right now. 'Argo' and see. TIM DAVID HARVEY.