Argo is the third film by Ben Affleck, the actor now deep into a parallel career as a director and proving not only be a virtual natural at the job, but clearly that he takes it seriously compared to some other peers of his who have attempted the same thing in recent years. Affleck is heading towards George Clooney and Sean Penn territory; David Schwimmer and Helen Hunt are not for example. One of the reasons his potential seems to be being realised has a lot to do with his screenplay choices, and Argo is no exception; a true story based around the rescue of six US Diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by CIA operative, Tony Mendez. Not exactly “lite” material, but one with the mixed potential to be either an intelligent adult thriller or ham-fisted flag waving cliché. So where does Affleck take it? Under the guidance of producers Clooney and Grant Heslov, thankfully – and not surprisingly – it is the former. The plot; extending to the fact that Mendez’s plan for the attempted rescue is to impersonate a Hollywood producer looking to film a B-grade sci-fi turkey in Iran, also gives the director plenty of flexibility to add humour and satire into the mix and ultimately that element allows it to become the crowd pleaser Affleck clearly saw the potential of it being.
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