Monday, October 22, 2012


Argo is a dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA and Canadian operation to extract six figitive American diplomats who hid in the Canadian embassy when Iran experienced their revolution. The results were classified secret until the president released the details of the operation in 1997.
And amazing the story is. Thankfully, director and star Ben Affleck recognized its worth, and changed the balance of the humor and drama in the screenplay so that it would work.
The comedy? The fact that U.S. operatives actually put together a dummy movie operation to convince Iran officials that they were scouting locations for a bad sci-fi movie instead of rescuing diplomats (called "houseguests" in the movie).
The movie is terrifically staged so that we see the conflict, the drama, in both the U.S. and Iran, as this daring operation moved forward.
I knew all about the hostages, probably the reason Jimmy Carter lost the presidency, a frightening time in American politics, but I did not know about the six diplomats hiding out in the Canadian embassy, knowing sooner or later that Iranians would figure out who was missing from their group of hostages, and where they might be. The Canadian ambassador and his wife took a great personal risk (and international risk for Canada) by agreeing to harbor them when two other embassies had turned them down. While the movie doesn't show their plight in seeking asylum, you have to wonder the fear as they went from door to door, seeking asylum.
This is a low-budget movie, and thankfully has wonderful actors to keep our interest and move the story forward. Besides Affleck, there's Victor Garber (best known in "Alias" with Affleck's wife, Jennifer Garner) as the Canadian ambassador, and the marvelous Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as Affleck's character's boss. Add to that character actors like Alan Arkin as a Hollywood producer and John Goodman as a make-up artist, and you have a star-studded but quietly developing, thrilling drama
Thumb's up.


At 8:20 PM, Blogger Ruth Adar said...

The fact that the film did not have a huge budget added to the quality, I thought: no gratuitous anything, just wonderful storytelling!


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