Director: Ben Affleck, Warner Bros, Rated MA, 120 mins

Based on historical accounts of the actual international incident ‘Argo’ tells the true story of the dramatic hostage rescue undertaken by America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Iranian Revolution in November 1979 under the pretext of a sci-fi film being made in Iran.
   Due to the skilful direction of Ben Affleck (The Town) including the use of historical footage and a cleverly crafted script from screenwriter Chris Terrio, the opening scenes of the movie show the dramatic overthrow of the Shah of Iran (while seeking medical treatment in the U.S.), the storming of the American Embassy by Islamic militants-demanding the return of the Shah, and the ultimate taking of hostages as an act of retribution.
   In addition to his directing role, Affleck also stars as Tony Mendez a CIA operative who specialises in getting people out of complex situations, and in this case it is the six American personnel who fled the Embassy just as it is being taken over by the militants, finally receiving refuge in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor (Milk).
   At the behest of his boss Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston - Total Recall) Mendez devises a plan that includes him going into Iran as a movie producer to check out the sites for a sci-fi film that is titled “Argo”, and then conscripting the six Americans as part of his film crew as a way of getting them out of the country.
   To add credibility to his fake movie mission, Mendez manages to gain the support of two veteran movie makers, Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin - Get Smart) and John Chambers (John Goodman - The Artist) who not only provide the cover for the fictitious film but also the only comic relief in the movie’s suspenseful storyline with many nail-biting sequences.
   Affleck’s convincing characterisation of Mendez is further complemented by an endowed ensemble cast and some intriguing Iranian scenes that are actually shot in Turkey.    Considering that this is only his third movie, Affleck has reached the heights of becoming a really great director, making this international thriller, a movie not to be missed.

VIC'S VERDICT:         4 ½ Rubber Stamps

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