ARGO

26 Oct

Synopsis: A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. The film also satirizes the Hollywood film community and what it took for the CIA to get their help in the operation.

CAST

Ben Affleck…………………………………Tony Mendez (CIA Operative)

Bryan Cranston……………………………………………….Jack O’Donnell

Alan Arkin………………………………………………………..Lester Siegel

John Goodman……………………….John Chambers (make-up artist)

Clea DuVall…………………………………………………………..Cora Lijek

Kyle Chandler……………………………………………..Hamilton Jordan

Victor Garber……………………………………………Kenneth D. Taylor

Tate Donovan……………………………………………………Bob Anders

Michael Parks…….Jack Kirby (Comic Book/Story Board Artist)

Tom Lenk………………………………………………………………….Rodd

Christopher Stanley……………………………………………Tom Ahern

Taylor Schilling…………………………………………Christine Mendez

 Ashley Wood…………………………………………………………..Beauty

Sheila Vand……………………………………………………………..Sahar

Chris Messina………………………………………………………..Malinov

Richard Kind………………………………………………………Max Klein

Titus Welliver………………………………………………………Jon Bates

Rory Cochrane…………………………………………………..Lee Schatz

Devansh Mehta………………………………………………Matt Sanders

Omid Abtahi……………………………………………………………..Reza

Scoot McNairy………………………………………………..Joe Stafford

Kerry Bishé…………………………………………………Kathy Stafford

 Christopher Denham………………………………………….Mark Lijek

Karina Logue………………………………………..Elizabeth Ann Swift

Bob Gunton……..Cyrus Vance (United States Secretary of State)

Philip Baker Hall………………Warren Christopher (Deputy S.O.S.)

Adrienne Barbeau………………………………………………………Nina

Fouad Hajji…………………………………………………………..Komiteh

President Jimmy Carter…………Himself (uncredited voice-over)

Review:  The film directed by its’ star, Ben Affleck, is based on the true events that occurred during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Jimmy Carter was President when the American Embassy in Iran was seized during the Iranian Revolution by militants, taking sixty hostages as six American Ambassadors, barely made it out. The six Ambassadors took refuge in the Canadian Embassy and were stuck there hoping they wouldn’t get caught. The Ayatollah Khomeini, who was the leader of the Iranian people at the time, had blamed the ill’s of the country on American intervention.

Victor Garber plays Ken Taylor, the head of the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, and knowingly puts himself and his family at risk by taking in the Ambassadors before they are found out. The CIA works feverishly to intervene and even brings in Tony Mendez (Affleck), their chief operative in charge of hostage extraction to figure out how to get the six out.

Mendez calls on his friend the make-up artist for the Planet of The Ape movies, John Chambers, who has helped the CIA with cover identities, to help here. Chambers is the one who comes up with the idea that Affleck would go in an as a Canadian film location scout. He also came up with the idea that the six hostages can have fake Canadian passports and pose as production crew and director. Goodman introduces Mendez to aging film producer Lester Siegel, (Arkin) who buys into the lie and uses the Hollywood machine to fake a fake movie production.  The film they use is a science fiction script called ARGO and they even set-up a fake Hollywood production office with phone, movie posters and files. I might add the irony of all this is that it is paid for by the U.S. Government. Goodman and Arkin add a light-hearted and often hilarious touch to the art of Hollywood film makers and producers.

The film is a taut, edge of your seat drama, that recreates actual events as they happen. You have to ask yourself how taken by America’s Hollywood the Iranians are that they fell for the cover hook, line and sinker.  The film is a winner by any standard and Affleck possibly directed the finest film of the year. It will be a disappointment if this film doesn’t pick-up a nomination for best-picture or best supporting actor for Arkin. Arkin is brilliant at sarcasm, when a collegue asks him what ARGO is about he growls, “ARGO f*&%$k yourself!” Which does become a wink and a nod between Mendez and his Hollywood friends.

Stay for the end credits because there are pictures of the Actors and the their real world counterparts shown side by side as President Jimmy Carter, in Voice-Over, discusses the actual ARGO operation and the facts surrounding the events.

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