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Movie Review Argo 2012

Updated on March 27, 2013

Argo 2012 directed by Ben Affleck

The movie Argo is an intense thriller about the rescue of six American Foreign Service officials from the Canadian Embassy in Teheran, Iran during the hostage crisis in the 1980’s. The film was produced by Ben Affleck and George Clooney and directed by Ben Affleck.

The hair, beard, mustaches, extra large eye glass lenses, songs, women’s fashions and atmosphere sends the movie viewer into a time warp. We are back into 1979-1980.

Argo begins with some background information leading to the hostage crisis. In 1953, the United States and Great Britain replaced the democratically elected government of Iran with the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The movie may have mentioned that it was a CIA coup that overthrew the government. I wrote a thesis on liberalism versus conservatism in 1966 and included the overthrow of the Iranian government by the CIA and western oil interests in the paper. There were no shredders back in 1966 therefore my high school English thesis was burnt in an incinerator in Newark, NJ.

Ben Affleck, as CIA operative Tony Mendez, develops a plan to rescue six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy. The cover story is for a Canadian movie crew to enter Iran to film background scenes for a new science fiction movie. Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers, played by John Goodman and movie producer Lester Siegel, played by Alan Arkin create a production company. The actual science fiction script Argo is purchased and the rescue operation is a go.

Affleck, as director, is fantastic. He gets superb performances from the character actors in the film. These actors portray real people in a tense and frightening situation. The Americans learn to trust CIA officer Mendez. When the Americans, posing as a Canadian film crew, go into the heart of the Tehran bizarre, the movie viewer can feel the hatred and animosity of the Iranians’ towards foreigners and Americans in particular.

The Americans were also saved by the Canadian ambassador, his wife and Iranian assistant. Finally, after fervent interrogation by Iranian officials at the airport, the six American Foreign Service officers with Mendez at their side fly out of Teheran on a Swiss Air flight.

The scenes of the marketplace, bizarre were shot in Istanbul, Turkey. I am not sure how the backdrop for Teheran with mountains in the background was produced. The City of Teheran scenes may have been developed from Google Maps.

The Canadian government was given credit for the rescue of the Americans. Years’ later former president Jimmy Carter also took accolades for the mission. But CIA officer Tony Mendez and his supervisor Jack O’Donnell, portrayed by Brian Cranston are the real heroes of this true story.

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