"There are only bad options. It's about finding the best one." - Tony Mendez.
Based on a declassified true story, Argo follows the story of six Americans who escaped from the American Embassy in Iran which was overrun by revolutionaries. Taking residence with the Canadian Ambassador, it becomes the task of the CIA to try and bring them back to the States. Options are limited and it is looking less and less likely that they will be able to get them home. Exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) tries to come up with a plan. A moment of inspiration helps him come up with an outlandish cover story - the six Americans are part of a Canadian film crew on a location scouting mission in Iran. Would the daring plan be enough to ensure their safe return before it's too late?
|The ideas are discussed.|
What this film does so well is to be able to create tension and suspense out of the smallest things. Whether it be a phone call just being answered on time or the decision to stamp a passport or not, you are on the edge of your seat. The six Americans feel very real and understandably their emotions are raw. Especially when given the near impossible task of becoming a new person in a very short space of time. Mendez has to convince everyone that his plan will succeed - including himself - battling against reservations from both the CIA and the six Americans.
|Everyone gets to grips with their new identities.|
I remember going to the cinema to see this with no real idea what to expect. The first few minutes are spent going through the history behind the story so it is easier to follow. Obviously some liberties have been taken with the true events in order to create the Hollywood narrative. The supporting cast were fantastic. Bryan Cranston plays Jack O'Donnell, Mendez's supervisor at the CIA, while Hollywood stalwarts John Goodman and Alan Arkin play film producers John Chambers and Lester Siegel respectively. They provide the majority of the comedic moments and are a real joy to watch.
|John Goodman and Alan Arkin.|
It was worth staying to watch the credits for Argo because they show a selection of comparative images showing the real six Americans and their on-screen portrayer. The resemblances are quite striking. As well as this there are shots of the real footage that have been recreated in the film, most notably the hanging of a man from a crane in the street. There has been some questioning regarding the valid representation of fact in Argo but from a filmic point of view, it is fully deserving of its plaudits.
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