Affleck's Argo Has It All

Iran hostage crisis at center of actor/director's latest

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 12, 2012 11:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ben Affleck's latest directorial effort tells the (mostly) true story of an unusual element of the Iran hostage crisis: A CIA boss, played by Affleck, gets a few hostages to safety by having them pretend to be a Canadian film crew. Argo is winning rave reviews:

  • Get ready to return to a time "when Hollywood regularly turned out smart and engaging films that crackled with energy and purpose," writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "Affleck easily orchestrates this complex film ... as it moves from inside-the-Beltway espionage thriller to inside Hollywood dark comedy to gripping international hostage drama, all without missing a step."

  • Affleck "rushes into the moment’s jarring, unsettling craziness with a cinematic whoosh. Fast and faster, he sets the skittish stage with convincing you-are-there re-creations," observes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "He doesn’t show off with his direction or the performances, going for detail instead of bombast with eerie silences, traded glances, trembling gestures and beaded sweat."
  • It's "Affleck's best movie yet," writes Dana Stevens at Slate. He takes a true story and "turns it into a rip-roaring Hollywood thriller, complete with romance, a comic subplot, and a car chase or two."
  • OK, Affleck might not be Alfred Hitchcock. Still, he "doesn't merely direct Argo, he directs the hell out of it, nailing the quickening pace, the wayward humor, the nerve-frying suspense," writes Peter Travers in Rolling Stone.

This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, center, in "Argo," a rescue thriller about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.   (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Claire Folger)
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A trailer for the film.   (YouTube)

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