Argo – Ah go on!

This is my review of Argo DVD [2013].

Ben Affleck has succeeded in both playing the lead role and directing an entertaining drama with “box office appeal” which also carries a serious undercurrent for those who seek it. Depending on one’s age, he reminds us of, or introduces us to the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 when fifty plus Americans were taken hostage at their embassy in Tehran by students calling for the deposed Shah to be returned for trial. This film focuses on the side issue of the six Americans who managed to escape and took refuge secretly with the Canadian ambassador, and of the CIA agent who devised what seemed like a ludicrous plot for their release by having them pose as a Canadian film crew assessing Iran as a location for a sci-fi film, “Argo”.

Affleck shows the boredom and fear of living in hiding for days with no prospect of escape as the Iranian authorities sift shredded photographs which will eventually prove that six hostages are missing. Clips of the torture of some American detainees are interwoven with chilling effect into the scenes of Tinseltown razzamatazz of a promotional exercise to raise interest in the bogus film. The final scenes are filled with tension but seem to have been hyped up since the original was insufficiently exciting to meet the expectations of current audiences. The ending was marred for me by a roller-coaster of too many coincidences – things, both good and bad, just happening to occur either to ramp up the fear or save the day.

⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars

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