Argo ★★★★½

ARGO (15)
D: Ben Affleck
Warner Bros./GK/Smokehouse (Grant Heslov, George Clooney & Ben Affleck)  
USA 🇺🇸 2012
115 mins


W: Chris Terrio [based on the article 'The Great Escape' by Joshua Bearman and the book 'The Master of Disguise' by Antonio J. Mendez]
DP: Rodrigo Prieto
Ed: William Goldenberg
Mus: Alexandre Desplat
PD: Sharon Seymour
Cos: Jacqueline West

Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez), Bryan Cranston (Jack O'Donnell), Alan Arkin (Lester Siegel), John Goodman (John Chambers), Tate Donovan (Robert Anders), Clea Duvall (Cora Lijek)

Even Ben Affleck's harshest critics have to give the guy his due respect here; he stars in, co-produces and directs an excellent political thriller, based on a true story of a covert CIA operation to rescue hostages from Iran during a period of civil unrest by using the guise of a bogus movie production.     
The plot isn't too dissimilar from the Dustin Hoffman-Robert DeNiro film Wag The Dog (qv), a satire which used the Hollywood production of a bogus war to get a president re-elected. Argo, however, has both feet firmly in the thriller genre and several moments are a masterclass in cinematic tension.
Affleck gets the very best out of his ensemble cast with a couple of truly excellent performances, most notably from Alan Arkin, who gets all the best lines of dialogue as a cynical movie producer.
Though the film won the Best Picture Oscar, Affleck was most definitely robbed of a Best Director nomination (that's right, he didn't even get nominated!). Scandalous.