Although I created the draft for this post after we saw Argo, I find myself writing most of it three years later. Unusually, my recall of the film is good, and I remember how it made me feel, which seems like the hallmark of a good film or at least a memorable one
Argo tells a story based on actual events. In November 1979 the US Embassy is over-run and occupied by revolutionaries and the embassy staff is taken hostage. Six of the staff manage to escape, and are given refuge at the Canadian Ambassador's residence. The American Government and the CIA come up with an elaborate plan to rescue them, and the execution of the plan takes up the rest of the movie.
Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez, (the hero), the CIA exfiltration (isn't that a great word?) specialist who comes up with idea of giving the the six escapees a new identity - Canadian film makers who are scouting for locations for a science fiction film. Given the go ahead ("of the bad ideas we've had for this mission this is the best bad idea") he recruits some help in Hollywood to give the fake film some substance, including a script.John Goodman and Alan Arkin feature is this part of Argo, and it's pretty funny.
Armed with the script, Tony sets of for Iran and meets the six Americans and explains his plan Understandably, they're a bit dubious but realising their options are limited they agree to participate. They go out into the city, ostensibly as film crew which is a pretty tense outing but not as tense as the day they attempt to leave the country on a commercial flight. My knowledge of the original incident was sketchy but I was pretty.sure the hostages made it out of Iran. This didn't stop the edge-of-seat-tension watching the scenes at the airport, particularly when the immigration officials attempt to ring the film's headquarters in Los Angeles.
Argo is a great watch - absorbing, exciting and very, very tense. It did a very good job of illustrating what it would be like to be in a building that was being besieged. It also illustrates why you should have a shredder that shredder that shreds into short bits and not long reconstruct-able strands.It seems like the kind of film that should win a best picture award, and it it did.
Anne's rating 4/5