The year was 1979, Jimmy Carter was President and much like today the Middle East was in a period of unrest and a nation of people were angry at the U.S for allowing their deposed Shah, to have a safe haven in this country. They were protesting in the streets and the revolution continued as the world watch on TV. Then it happened a group of citizens, some carrying guns broke through the gates and then the doors of the U.S. Embassay in Iran. They took all who worked there hostage, not knowing that 6 escaped. This is when this true story of the Iranian Hostage Crisis became a story fit for a Hollywood tale. Argo, Written by Chris Terrio based on a article by Joshuah Bearman and Directed by Ben Affleck is what happened to those six people.
4 men, Bob Anders, Joe Stafford, Lee Schatz and Mark Lijek (Tate Donovan, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane and Christopher Denham) and 2 women, Cora Lijek and Kathy Stafford (Clea DuVall and Kerry Bishe) made it safely to the House of the Canadian Ambassador in Tehran and stay hidden inside as their country, the CIA, works on ideas to get them out before the Iranians realize they are missing. Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez, an CIA ex filtration expert and the man who came up with the plan. They decide to get the Americans out by going in and giving them new identities, as a Canadian film crew. The first part of this plan, Tony has to get someone inside Hollywood to make a fake movie. Hollywood being Hollywood, a biz all about making money, may be a impossible task luckily Tony knows a man, the best make-up artist in town to be exact, his name John Chambers played buy the enchanting John Goodman, next they need a Producer, enter Lester Siegel played by the great Alan Arkin who is on his way to accept an lifetime achievement award. Side note watching Goodman and Arkin together on screen is a lot of fun and the are a perfect Hollywood match:). The three man must find a buy a script that will work with the plan. The screenplay that they choose is important because they must have a reason to use locations within the film that match what can be found within the geography of Iran. Argo is that sci-fi film within this film and as crazy as as this idea may sound it just might work. They have an open casting call and a table read through to make everything look ligent as the CIA lead by Tony's Supervisor Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Craston) with help from Hamilton Jordan (Kyle Chandler) construct new identities for the 6. Once Tony makes it to Iran he meets with with the Canadian Ambassador played by the wonderful Victor Garber he takes him to the 6 runaways. Now is the time for these average American citizens to learn and memorize their new identities, The Canadian film crew includes a Producer, a Director, a Cameraman, the Writer, of course and a Set Designer.
Now here is where I would like to think that if I ever find myself in a similar situation and this man played by Affleck wanted me to do what they had to do in only two days and to TRUST that he WILL get me out safely, and I had to decide whether I should die as a sitting duck or get killed as a tried to escape he would hear now argument from me! I with you man!
Argo is more proof that as long as you have a GOOD story to tell it doesn't need to be in 3D or have a lot of special effects. This true little known tale is a surprising delight. Even though you already know how it is all going to end Director Affleck is able to build up the suspense and add to an already tense situation, as well as drama and even some comedy to keep the viewer on his/her toes. As I said one of the film crew members is the Set Designer and while watching this movie you see just how important his/her job is. Although the film takes place 5 months before I was born, from what I know about the 1970s everything on screen from the cars and the color palette to the phone with cords (before cell ones) was a perfect match of the times. Congrats to the make up and costumes artists as well, from the bushy mustaches worn by every man to the gold chain around Affleck's "movie producer" neck it is all a sight to be seen,
This is Ben Affleck's 2ed film as a director and it shows that he is as good at this job as he is at acting.
In other words-Go ahead, back to 1979 and check out Argo!