Ben Affleck directs his third film on the Iranian hostage situation of the early 80s with a strong supporting cast including Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston. Is this Affleck’s best directorial effort or does he fall hostage to a political thriller that doesn’t thrill. My review.
I’m a fan of Ben Affleck’s movies that he has directed. Gone Baby Gone was a good first effort and showed some promise while The Town gave him a lot of press and Oscar buzz and showed that he may actually have some true talent behind the camera. He doesn’t disappoint as not only is Argo probably his best film yet but it is one of the best I’ve seen this year.
Affleck has a knack for getting fantastic performances out of the actors in his films whether it was Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone or Jeremy Renner in The Town, he always has that crowning performance that puts his film over the top. In Argo, he lacks that one stand-out performance but exchanges it for a stellar ensemble showing.
This film follows the Iranian revolution in the early 80s and the story of how the CIA went in to the hostile country and extracted 6 members of the US embassy that escaped the raids of the revolutionary party. The film opens up with the raid of the embassy and that intensity never lets up throughout the film. It is the thing I loved most while watching this, the intensity is always on max and never lets up until the very end.
What stands out the most has to be the exceptional directing. Affleck does a great job of showing and creating the feeling of intensity throughout the film and really grabs the audience with this story. Once his character touches down in Iran, your heart does not stop racing trying to figure out if they are going to be found or not.
Another thing that was great was the script. The screenwriters did a fantastic job of mixing both the insane intensity of a hostile country taking hostages to the f-bombs of Alan Arkin as Affleck gets set up in the movie business. This sidebar with the movie business gives some much needed comic relief and is a fun look into the movie business during this time period and what was popular in the movies.
I also want to note, while I said it was a fantastic ensemble performance, I want to highlight Bryan Cranston who out of all of the cast was probably the strongest performance. He held his own as the CIA director and when the climax began to hit really started to show his great acting talents and how he has the ability to command the screen even with such a large cast.
Argo is a rather fast paced political thriller that is easy to follow but gives you a lot of meat to work with. It is a deep thriller but also gives itself time to have some fun and let Affleck and the writers show off their love for movies. It is easily in my top 5 movies so far this year and should be an Oscar contender.