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Argo: refreshingly realistic

By: Ohad AmramStaff Writer

Ben Affleck proves himself once again as a capable director and creates one of the most unique movies of the year with “Argo.” The credits of the movie revealed that the true story the film was based on was declassified in 1997. Fifteen years ago. It took Hollywood this long to get this incredible story out to cinemagoers—and it was definitely worth the wait. “Argo” follows the Iranian hostage crisis that took place from 1979 to 1981. Six escapees from the U.S. Embassy in Iran hid out in the home of the Canadian ambassador. In order to extract them, the CIA got involved with Hollywood producers, who pretended that they were Canadian filmmakers making a science fiction movie and in need of exotic locales. It’s quite a mouthful of a plot. This idea would be too “out there” to base a movie on if it weren’t true. Ben Affleck, sitting in the director’s chair again after the success of “The Town,” is fully aware of this and strikes a balance between an almost comedic tone and a very tense one. It is a thin line to walk, but Affleck never stumbles. The story progresses at a lively pace with many great one-liners and dramatic moments, and the faux-Hollywood acting is appropriately over the top. The third act makes it damn near impossible to blink for fear of missing something. It is with the nature of this story that the audience gets both comedy and intensity. If there is one problem with “Argo,” it is that the story doesn’t demand very much from the actors. Affleck leads the cast and is stoic throughout. None of the escapees really get a moment to stand out from each other. The best examples of acting come from Bryan Cranston, who gets some nice moments towards the end, and Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who play the fake film’s director and producer respectively. They have great chemistry and get most of the film’s laughs. But this is not a film that needs the best from its actors; it already has a remarkable story that anyone can enjoy. Affleck may have just one-upped himself his film that is both haunting and surprisingly comic. “Argo” is a real treat.

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