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I liked “Argo” quite a bit. The first twenty five minutes are particularly engaging, including an interesting sequence explaining the recent history of Iran using animation featuring stylish storyboards. It’s followed by an incredibly tense depiction of the storming of the American embassy in Iran in 1979.
The movie tells the story of “the Canadian Caper”. Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA guy who comes up with the plot to exfiltrate them as part of a fake movie production. The movie does a good job of increasing the stakes and making the threat of capture ever present and terrifying.
“Argo”, however, doesn’t do Canada any favours. The film accurately represents some of Canada’s contributions to the operation, and is wise enough to include Canuck extraordinaire Victor Garber in the role of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. SORTA SPOILER ALERT: But the conclusion strongly implies that the CIA allowed Canada to take credit for their work, in order to avoid repercussions from Iran. That’s simply not the case, and it’s irksome that Ben Affleck responded to allegations of inaccuracy by claiming “dramatic licence”. There are plot elements, timing particulars, and other aspects of the film that I’m happy to chalk up to “dramatic licence”, but giving the U.S.A. the credit for the entire mission seems a bit much, especially if you’re going to suggest that Canada took the credit out of mutual convenience. Lame.
Aside from that, though, it’s a very, very strong film. The six actors playing the hostages were particularly good and Alan Arkin’s producer character is just the kind of “funny in a dramatic movie” that Oscar seems to enjoy.
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