To this point, Ben Affleck has had quite an illustrious career not only as an actor, but as a director and writer of movies going all the way back to his original collaboration with Matt Damon with the Oscar winning "Good Will Hunting". "Argo" is a movie that will be considered a cornerstone piece to the overall body of work he has produced to this point.
"Argo" is based on a recently declassified true story set during the late 70's revolution in Iran and stars Mr. Affleck as CIA agent Tony Mendez. This man is considered the expert when it comes to getting people out of dangerous places and his most recent assignment is to figure out how to get six Americans out of Iran safely before they are captured and most likely tortured and killed.
The plan is for Mendez to go in to Iran with a cover story that has him and the six people who are hiding out at the Canadian embassy to join up as part of a film crew that is scouting locations for a science fiction feature film. To make this work, he heads to Hollywood to enlist the help of John Chambers (John Goodman) who has used his expertise in makeup and effects work to help the CIA in previous missions.
With a script in hand, financial backing from a real Hollywood executive, a dummy film studio, and a big time press release all in place, Mendez heads to Iran with a full blown cover story. No one thinks this plan has a chance of working, but Mendez is prepared to do everything he can to get all six people out of Iran and back home safely.
What impressed me the most about this movie was how, from the opening scene, it gives you an underlying feeling of danger and tension that doesn't let up all the way through to the final moments. Even as you sit safely in the theater surrounded by your fellow movie goers, you still feel like you are right there with the people you are watching and in just as much danger as they are.
Ben Affleck has found a way to give his film a documentary feel to it without using shaky and erratic camera movements that have become the hallmark of that genre, style, or whatever you want to call it. What you do get is a period piece that is so spot on, even the opening credits are done in a 70's style fashion which helps draw you in right from the start. The soundtrack also perfectly complements both the mood of the film and the era in which the story is drawn from and there is even a grainy quality to the picture that completes the overall retro feel that is perfectly portrayed by the wardrobe, set design, and prop departments.
The incredible cast, which includes Bryan Cranston, Tate Donovan, Kyle Chandler, and Zeljko Ivanek, seems to have been just as meticulously put together as the rest of the film and everyone does a great job with a screenplay that is very clean and well thought out. I would imagine that making a movie out of such an important story and attempting to do it justice is by no means an easy task, but I don't see how anyone could have done as good of a job as Affleck has done with "Argo".