by Joseph Tiberia
Ben Affleck’s newest film, Argo has received attention of not only the critics, but also audiences around the globe as he dives into another film dealing with secret law/government policies.
While Affleck’s first film was about child abduction (Gone, Baby, Gone) and the second about the criminal underworld (The Town), Argo is about a secret CIA mission that took place during the Carter Administration with Iran and its then-president, that held several members of US Assembly to hide in the Canadian prime minister’s home. The mission was simple – Affleck (Tony Mendez) is forced to get hostages out of the country by posing them as fake film crew working on a fake Canadian science fiction film.
It’s as amazing as it sounds crazy! However this was a real event in American and Canadian history. Argo is a masterfully made film just like a fine wine, its not the maker who necessarily shines, the culmination of all the pieces like the right oak barrel, the right amount of time spent in them, the right location and time when the grapes where picked.
Produced by Ben Affleck, as well as George Clooney and his long time producing partner Grant Heslov, Argo has a fantastic cast which any filmmaker would be proud to have. Bryan Cranston performs as Ben Affleck’s CIA boss. Affleck could have typecast the role and hired Ed Harris to play the role but Cranston gave the role some sensitivity that lacks often in many US undercover government films, helping you root for the US instead of rolling your eyes at the Pro-US themes.
Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who plays the legendary make-up artist John Chambers, are cast as the Hollywood players who pose for the fake production company. They both are like the ragtag members of the Ocean’s Eleven team. Arkin is a foul mouth semi-retired Hollywood player bringing back his grandpa role from Little Miss Sunshine.
The story is extremely well crafted that you may know what is going to happen but the material itself is presented with such tension built often you stay at the edge of your seat the whole time. Affleck doesn’t force his direction onto the film; it’s more of a guiding hand to the whole film and the story than trying to control every aspect, which is quite refreshing from often most directors’ personal opinion overtaking the story.
Argo is without a doubt Ben Affleck’s best film to date both in front and behind the camera, as well as my vote for best picture of the year.
P.S. Thanks Canada for the help!
Joseph S. Tiberia is a recent graduate of Adelphi University with a major in Video/Film Production. He has interned for Half Yard Production and NYC’s Face-Off comedy troupe. He specializes in cinematography freelance work. Joseph is also a movie reviewer for Totalfilmnerd.com. His favorite film of all time is A BitterSweet Life.