In all honesty, I never really was a big Ben Affleck fan. Sure there will always be my guilty pleasure of Daredevil with the late, great Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin and YES I loved him in his early masterpiece with Damon, Goodwill Hunting, but once he became known as “Bennifer,” I kind of lost interest…that was until The Town. Then I took notice. He had my full attention. Hey…this man really does still have talent. He took what would normally be your everyday bank robbing, mobster film and filled it with raw and visceral emotion, tension and conflict that kept me on the edge of my seat the throughout the feature’s extended runtime. And when I saw the trailer for his latest body of work, Argo, I thought out loud…this sh1t is bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Thankfully…I was right.
So as I was saying, the man once known as “Bennifer” is back. This time he’s at the helm of a political thriller named Argo. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio and is based loosely on a true story during the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis in Tehran. In addition to his directing duties, Ben also stars alongside John Goodman, Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin.
Argo recounts the events during the 1979 Iranian Revolution when Islamic militants storm the gates and took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage. Meanwhile, six Americans did manage to escape and were hidden at the Canadian Ambassador’s home. And you’ll laugh out loud at the ridiculous ideas the CIA have in their playbooks to get these six out of the country safely. Bicycles! LMAO! If it wasn’t for the ambitious and bold thinking of CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck), there’s no way those stranded six will have ever got home untouched…at least in the movie version I saw.
So how did he do it? Well, if you saw the trailer, then you already know the answer to that one. But for argument’s sake, let’s pretend you didn’t. His idea was to make a fake movie and smuggle the six of them out of Tehran as members of his production team (writer, producer, director, cameraman, etc…). Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG! In order to pull off such a feat, like in the real world, your movie has to be taken seriously. How do you do that? Well, the media of course! Mendez and his Hollywood contacts set out to make the most impressive fake film Hollywood has ever seen complete with lavish parties, media events and coverage and even a cast reading. Doesn’t sound that far fetch in Hollywood today, does it? And I should tell you, this was all based on a little known science fiction script that people in the industry could give two sh1ts about…a screenplay named Argo. Mendez got the idea for a science fiction story after watching a sci-fi movie with his son. Tehran would serve as the backdrop for some of the exotic shots needed. Now things were in motion. However, it’s the easy things that always go wrong and astray in life and this one was no exception.
Once in Tehran, Mendez had to act quickly and only had two days to create false identities and passports for the stranded six Americans, teach them film production and their roles and fake scout certain public locations such as a crowded market place. Let’s just say not everyone of the six fully trusted Mendez or his seemingly crazy plan, but really…what choice did they have? Once in the public eye, they were treated with hostility and disbelief. Want to talk about tension? Try being in this moment. Wow! And just as things seem like they may actually go as planned, our good old country decides to abandon Mendez’s efforts and he is on his own to get these six Americans out of the country and back home safely. This is all I will say. I think I given you enough ammo now to want to check this out and see if Mendez is the hero our country needed him to be.
So I think it goes without saying, “Argo” see this one theatrically. It’s tension filled and down to the wire moments will have you on the edge of your seat biting your nails in uneasy anxiety over getting the six Americans safely out of this fricking war torn and hostile country. While the filming of this movie seemed a bit rushed and just took place last August, nothing about the production appears skimpy at all. Rest assured, like The Town (I still like that one better), Affleck continues to prove himself as a director force not to be reckoned with. For the first time ever, I can honestly say I’m looking forward to Ben’s next production. Justice League, anyone? Bring it on! LOL…just kidding.