Who knew Ben Affleck had it in him! Sure we have all seen him strutting his stuff in Mallrats and Good Will Hunting but this time the idolized Hollywood actor is working his magic on both sides of the camera. That’s right he takes the lead as both the front man and director of the movie Argo.
The film is based on the true life events of a life or death hostage situation at the American embassy in Tehran in 1976 and the unlikely rescue of six Americans. Okay you think that sounds like a feasible plot – wait for the punch line! The Americans found refuge in the Canadian embassy before the plan was hatched to sneak them out of the country under the guise of being Canadian film makers making a botched sci-fi film called Argo. Despite the utter absurdity of the escape plan the plot actually strikes the bone as being true as it is based on Tony Mendez’s personal account of what happened that fateful day.
Affleck takes the lead as Mendez and despite going in there in a borderline hacked off mood that the director had cast himself in the starring role, he actually manages to pull it off with great success. The rather dark and disturbing turn of events nestled in the story the script manages to employ some fresh twists of humor to lift the weight of the tense, nail-biting drama.
Alright there are some moments that may have you flinching from the screen and wondering where Ben Affleck gets his nerve. He manages to play with history a little and throw in a few car chases that didn’t happen and a few glossed over portrays of ethnic relations that leaves you a little squeamish. Yet on the whole these weaknesses are able to be overlooked as the film delivers a good, solid story. Why let the truth destroy a good story anyway hey?
It’s a dark chapter in American history yet Affleck manages to bring light to the tale at the end of the tunnel. We must also applaud him for recruiting actors who are better than himself and not attempting to steal the limelight. When you place Morgan Freeman in your movie you know you won’t be the only one going for a stellar performance rating.
Who would have thought Affleck would be the man to score massive points when it came down to creating an awe inspiring thriller with a great pace, firm supporting cast and edgy storytelling antics. It’s a far cry from his mallrat days and I for one applaud the leap, even if I don’t applaud the over-sentimentality of some of the films lesser moments. Why ruin a good film with an old clichéd ending? Not wanting to give anything away I will simply mention stars and stripes and crying wives. Yawn. Yet don’t let that put you off, the film is a firm step in the right direction.