Breaking many Hollywood-movie-cookie-cutter-templates, Affleck takes the chair and directs a pulsing masterpiece of historic filmmaking.
In brief: During the hostage crisis (1979-1981) 6 US embassy escaped from a backdoor. The Canadian Ambassador took them in temporarily. The CIA exfil specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) was then asked to advised on this near-impossible exfiltration and crafted a most looney plan. This really is a case of "you'd never believe it if it was made up"; only true stories can be this unreal
Knowing history and watching it are very different things and here Affleck creates a high tension re-enactment of the events of the 1979 American hostage crises in Iran. For many of todays cinema regulars this event may be outside of their memory (but just inside their parents' memories).
Attention to detail is the name of the game with not just 1970's 1980's Iran and America but also old fudgy Kodachrome cinematography and plenty of splicing in of original footage. Unlike the movies of the time, there are no holds barred when it comes to dialogue in Argo.
A good move for the producers, the current political climate will swallow up this film that paints a view inside Iran, even if it is a 30 year old view.
Argo performs as a documentary-drama and retelling of historical events simultaneously, albeit with a pinch of poetic licence I'm sure. The events create almost too much tension and leave the question "did it really happen that way?" Ignoring this minor quibble, Argo pours fine historical filmmaking down your throat faster than you can swallow - and I'm glad to say the taste is good, and you won't drown.
(release: 7th November)