There was good news and bad news about today’s special Cinema Society screening of “Argo.” The good news was that I really liked the movie. The bad news was that the reason we didn’t screen it earlier, before it was released, was because we were getting Ben Affleck for a Q&A and reception – and Ben had the flu and couldn’t be there. Everybody was disappointed, but apparently he’s planning to come up from LA as soon as he’s better and try again.
So. The movie.
What a riveting thriller. Even though it’s based on a true story and I knew how the events would turn out, it was so suspenseful that I had a knot in my stomach and got teary when it was over.
It’s the story of the covert and seemingly hair-brained operation to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis. A CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a plan to convince the Iranians that he and the six Americans are merely scouting locations for a science fiction epic – all in order to get them out of the country safely.
Alan Arkin is hilarious as the Hollywood producer who goes along with the project. So is John Goodman, the makeup man and part-time operative pal of Mendez’s. Bryan Cranston plays Mendez’s boss at the CIA and delivers as always. Affleck somehow manages to star in the movie as well as direct and produce it, and he’s developed into a fine actor, if a little one-note.
Will “Argo” be nominated for Best Picture? Without a doubt. Is it more entertaining than, say, “Lincoln?” Absolutely. “Lincoln” has the prestige and Daniel Day-Lewis, but “Argo” is a whole lot more fun while it, too, teaches us about history.