Argo FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Warner Bros. Pictures, GK Films and Smoke House Pictures present an R rated, 120 minute, dramatic thriller based on true events, directed by Ben Affleck, screenplay by Chris Terrio, article by Joshuah Bearman with a theater release date of October 12, 2012.
November 4, 1979, Iranians are protesting outside the U.S. Embassy. Suddenly as U.S. officials watch on from their bullet proof Embassy windows, the protesters start to jump the fences, eventually storming the building. No Iranian police, no Prime Minister, no military, no one is coming to their aid. Soon 52 Americans are taken hostage, blind folded, guns held to their heads, in fear for their lives. Unknown to the Iranians 6 Americans escaped out to the streets of Iran and eventually took cover at the home of the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber) who shares the residence with his wife Pat (Page Leong) and their housekeeper Sahar (Sheila Vand) who eventually catches on to what is going on in the home.
The 6 Americans, Bob Anders (Tate Donovan), Cora Lijek (Clea DuVall), Mark Lejek (Christopher Denham), Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy), Lee Schatz (Rory Cochrane), Kathy Stafford (Kerry Bishe’) 69 days later are still hiding out with no chance of making it to freedom. Before the Embassy got stormed by the Iranian mobs the U.S. officials inside shredded and burned most pictures and documents along with smashing equipment so as to protect U.S. interests. One dilemma, the Iranian officials enlisted the help of many Iranian children to go through all the shredded papers and piece together any photographs of the 6 Americans in hiding. Now they are in a race against time for their lives!
Meanwhile back in the states Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) and other members of the CIA and the White House are discussing options to rescue the 6 Americans. Who would have thought that of all the ideas presented to rescue the Americans it took a sci-fi film, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” that CIA agent Tony Mendez happened to be watching to create the ultimate best bad idea by far. Before you know it, approved by the White House and CIA, Tony is meeting with Hollywood chiefs Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and special effect giant John Chambers (John Goodman) to create a script and production of a fake science fiction film. Tony is planning to fly into Iran, meet with the 6 Americans, change their identities to a film crew on location in Iran and after 48 hours fly himself and the crew of 6 on SwissAir back to U.S. soil. Ironically after doing everything possible nationally and internationally to publicize a fake film they all realized that the whole country is watching a rescue and they just don’t know it yet!
Literally this film has some superb writing accompanied with some brilliant performances by the actors who are wonderfully cast in this story. Some of the lines especially the ones that poke fun at Hollywood are absolutely hysterical. One popular yet suggestive phrase used throughout the story beautifully references the title of the fake movie, Argo, which of course happens to be the name of this film. I won’t divulge it here but you’ll love it when you hear it! Affleck directed a phenomenal film a few years back, “The Town” which was one of my favorites and once again he has that magical touch that left the theater at my screening full of applause at the end of the film. A nice soundtrack as well as cinematography the location shoots mixed with live footage are astoundingly accurate which I’m sure took some great editing. I especially enjoy some familiar territories of my own like ‘The Beverly Hilton’ in LA along with the rooftop and private party room where I personally got kissed at midnight on my 40th birthday by Gillian Anderson from “X Files”.
Amazingly filmed the story engulfs you in a culture unfamiliar to most Americans other than what they hear about it in the news. When Tony Mendez arrives in Iran he is amazed by some of the architecture, the guns, the people and the hung man roped above busy streets laced with civilians. As he eventually greets the 6 Americans and discusses his plan to help them out of the country the government informs Tony that the plan is canceled. That was until Tony feeling responsible for the 6 lives he has now grown to know decides to take matters in his own hands and later in a very intense climax if you’re familiar with U.S. history you know what happens but if you’re not then either way you must see this revealing story of the ‘Iranian Hostage Crisis’ to learn what happened to the 6 Americans and the 52 held at the Embassy.
Affleck once again hits a home run both as director and lead actor so I’m sure he’ll be hearing his name once again when it comes time for the Oscar nominations. Cranston and Garber along with the 6 actors trying to escape Iran are spot on with their roles along with the rest of the supporting characters and huge amount of extras. Goodman once again does a nice job playing alongside Arkin who is sure to impress everyone who hits the theaters for this must see film of the year. Written and absolutely enjoyed and appreciated with 3 and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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