Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Argo" with Ben Affleck and Alan Arkin (2012)

In this fast paced true life thriller, Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA operative who specializes in getting people out of crisis situations. In this case his assignment is to facilitate the removal of 6 American Embassy workers in Tehran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979.  Those 6 had been able to obtain shelter in the Canadian Embassy, but their presence was becoming known, making it only a matter of time until the Iranians would take them from that building.

At home the CIA and the White House are caught seriously off guard; and with no plans in the “works” to free the hostages it was time to get inventive. Calling upon friends in Hollywood, the CIA concocts a plan to film a phony movie in Iran at the time of the crisis, using phony Canadian passports to remove the hostages. John Goodman and Alan Arkin play the Hollywood Producer and Director who accompany Tony to Iran with the phony film crew. That part is relatively easy. But getting them out provides another, more desperate race against time.

Ben Affleck directed this film which is based on the actual events as they occurred. The beginning of the movie provides a brief background on just how the Iranian government fell, and why. This will be especially helpful to younger viewers who may not remember why the Iranians overthrew their government in the first place, as well as provide an insight into what kind of governments end up filling the vacuum created by violent revolutions.

It has been almost 35 years since the events depicted in this film took place. With last week’s election of a more moderate leader in Iran, let’s hope that the pendulum of democratic government is swinging back towards the center in that country, which has a strong influence on all of the other countries in the region. This was a very gripping and well-made film.

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