41. Argo (R) - Runtime: 120 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Director: Ben Affleck
Mr. Affleck is 3 for 3 in my book. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and now Argo are all really, really good movies. This was a movie I knew, when I instantly heard the story and who was attached to it, that this was going to be good. Affleck is good at creating some great drama and tension and Argo is filled with some nail-biting scenes. I don't know where I'd rank this movie, but it's a great movie and possibly one of the top 10 movies this year.
If you don't know by now, during the Iran hostage crisis, there were a handful of Americans trapped inside the Canadian ambassador's home. It took a crazy and bold plan to get them out alive and the movie tells the story of how Tony Mendez took it upon himself to get them out. This required faking that these six Americans were actually Canadians and they were on location to shoot a science fiction film, titled Argo. The movie starts up casually enough - you see the beginnings of the riots in Iran it slowly builds to a crescendo when the U.S. embassy gets invaded. It's truly horrific and the movie does a great job of filling you with absolute terror for all the individuals whose lives would forever be changed.
Six people manage to safely get away and were continually rejected until the Canadian ambassador opened up his house to keep them safe. But they couldn't stay there forever and Tony Mendez is brought in to extract those six Americans. He convinces the CIA to create a fake movie for the extraction and this is where the movie breaks up all the drama with some well-timed comedy. Mendez hooks up with John Chambers (Goodman), a makeup and effects guru to get the science fiction movie off the ground. There's a great performance as well from Alan Arkin, who plays a big-time producer who fronts the money for the fake movie. The scenes in Hollywood are great - there's some great jokes and Goodman and Arkin are fantastic.
The great thing about this movie is that it all moves quickly. You're never left wondering where this movie is going and it does a fantastic job of making you sit on the edge of your seat even though you may already know the ending. The final thirty minutes are so well paced and tense that my heart was racing just a little bit. That's a good movie and it deserves all the accolades it's going to get this awards season.
A must-see movie this year, Argo is a smart, intense story that excels at delivering a good mix of drama and comedy while being very informative.
Rating: See It!