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Argo

By AP KRYZA

Halfway through Ben Affleck’s Argo, the main characters stage a script reading for a Flash Gordon rip-off they claim to be prepping for the screen. It’s 1980, and there are green Wookiees, gold-chained slave babes and even a Fu Manchu-sporting Emperor Ming type gathered at a table. They start reading—with terrible delivery—perhaps the most hackneyed post-Star Wars script since, well, Flash Gordon. The result is hilarious. Then something harsh happens. The dialogue fades, replaced by violent political speak from the Iranian revolution in which 52 Americans are being held hostage. This stark juxtaposition perfectly captures the tone of this thriller, a bizarre story of a joint mission between the Canadian government, the CIA and Hollywood to extract six Americans hiding in Tehran by posing as a Canuck film crew on a location shoot. It sounds like a recipe for a comic romp, but Affleck is too smart for that. A decade ago, that sentence would have drawn laughs. But over the course of the three films he’s directed, Affleck has positioned himself as something of an auteur in the Michael Mann mold: slick, concise and able to tell complex stories in a straightforward manner, with subtly kinetic camera flourishes punctuating brilliant performances. From its opening sequence of rioters storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran to its white-knuckle finale, this is a film where suspense is rendered not through violence but emotional gravity. By not pandering to sentimentality, Affleck has taken what others would have turned into farce and emerged with one of the year’s best pictures.

 
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Running Time: 120 minutes
  • Release Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Some Violent Images ]
  • Critic's Score: A-
  • Starring: Ben Affleck [Tony Mendez], Bryan Cranston [Jack O'Donnell], Alan Arkin [Lester Siegel], John Goodman [John Chambers], Victor Garber [Ken Taylor], Tate Donovan [Bob Anders], Clea DuVall [Cora Lijek], Scoot McNairy [Joe Stafford], Rory Cochrane [Lee Schatz], Christopher Denham [Mark Lijek], Kerry Bishé [Kathy Stafford], Kyle Chandler [Hamilton Jordan], Chris Messina [Malinov], Zeljko Ivanek [Robert Pender], Titus Welliver [Bates], Keith Szarabajka [Adam Engell], Bob Gunton [Cyrus Vance], Richard Kind [Max Klein], Richard Dillane [OSS Officer Nicholls], Omid Abtahi [Reza Borhani], Page Leong [Pat Taylor]
  • Directed by: Ben Affleck [Director], Chris Terrio [Screenwriter], Grant Heslov [Producer], Ben Affleck [Producer], George Clooney [Producer], David Klawans [Executive Producer], Nina Wolarsky [Executive Producer], Chris Brigham [Executive Producer], Chay Carter [Executive Producer], Graham King [Executive Producer], Tim Headington [Executive Producer], Rodrigo Prieto [Cinematographer], William Goldenberg [Film Editor], Alexandre Desplat [Original Music], Sharon Seymour [Production Design], Peter Borck [Art Director], Jan Pascale [Set Decoration], Jacqueline West [Costume Designer], Lora Kennedy [Casting]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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