Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5
I really enjoyed this movie which is based on true events during the Iranian hostage crisis during the late 1970s. I had totally forgotten that six Americans escaped and hid in the home of the Canadian ambassador. This is the story of the efforts by the CIA and the Canadians to sneak the six out of the country before they are discovered by the Iranians.
Ben Affleck stars and directs. He is turning into a good director; his previous film was the excellent The Town. He give a sold performance and also gets good performances from the always excellent John Goodman, Bryan Crasnton, Alan Arkin, and several supporting actors/actresses.
The film does a good job of recreating the embassy takeover and the environment in Iran at the time. It’s hard to believe that was over 30 years ago. The film also creates tension for an event where the outcome is known while throwing in some timely humor. The movie takes some poetic license to increase the tension but that is OK. Argo is definitely worth seeing.
Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5
Echoing Bill’s review above, it’s a terrific, suspenseful, fast moving film, that surprised me given the fact that the ending is known to all of us in advance. Some random thoughts: 1) If you were one of these embassy workers hiding out in Tehran in the middle of the unpredictable hostage crisis, your life depending upon remaining un-recognized, especially when you are trying to escape via the major airport, wouldn’t you shave your mustache, or dye your hair, or get a new hairdo? 2) If you were the “Exfil” (not sure what that stands for) expert from the CIA (Ben Affleck’s character) and posing as 1 of a 6 person film crew, prepared to be questioned by the Revolutionary Guard about everything from who’s financing the film, to what is the plot, and what is the back story for each of the crew, would you keep your crew housed in the Canadian ambassador’s house while you stayed in the nice high rise hotel? 3) If you were the CIA honcho leading the operation from HQ (an excellent Bryan Cranston), and you needed a phone manned from the film company in case an Iranian Revolutionary Guard decided to test Affleck’s “proof” that it’s a legitimate film, wouldn’t you staff a local LA based CIA agent at the phone 24×7 in case they called? In fact in 1979 wasn’t it technically possible to route an LA phone number directly to CIA HQ? 4) Finally, given the time difference (10 or 11 hours ahead of LA in Tehran), how likely is it that when they try to board the flight from Tehran (it’s light out, so it’s probably before 7 pm in Tehran) that the film company is working and manning its phones when you call to check? (6 pm in Tehran would be 7:30 am in LA). All quibbles I know, and since it’s a real story, there must be legitimate answers.
It is fascinating at the end, so be sure to sit through the beginning of the credits, to see how closely certain scenes matched the real scenes as documented from the 1979 events. And the actual people are shown, who are stunningly close to lookalikes to the actors. All except for our man, Ben, who in no way resembles the real (hispanic) Tony Mendez. I guess Benecio Del Toro, Javier Bardem and Ricky Martin (ha) were busy when they cast this film. What’s next for Ben, playing the lead in a remake of Malcolm X?