What better way to spend a Saturday night than sitting in the handicap seat angled off in order to view a movie with out the potential of any long-term or short neck/neurological damage, right? Well it was certainly worth the contortions. Even though Argo was my third choice; my first being “Seven Psycopaths” with that awesome Shih Tsu, it was worth every second.
I am not a fan of Ben Affleck as I favor his younger brother Casey when it comes to drama but there was nothing drawn out or boring about his performance. The casting worked out in his favor, John Goodman and Alan Arkin are forces to be reckoned with in anything they do, so combining them to work in supporting roles really helps push the story line across especially when you realize that Argo is a film about Americans sitting around in an Ambassador’s mansion trying to stay sane for 70+ days while three men orchestrate the production of yet another massive lie in Hollywood. The three conspirators come across one huge problem with their plan.To produce a lie in a town of professional liars the CIA in Affleck’s character Antonio “Tony” Mendez (Not white like Affleck) needs time to ironically become a better con-man than those already established in the movie industry.
The basis of the movie is inspired by true events. The Iran Hostage crisis was seen as one of the most controversial events of a post Vietnam culture. The President of the United States Jimmy Carter failed to act accordingly to a number of issues prior to the events which led ultimately to a generally agreed upon failed term in the White House. The six who made up the “House Guests”; the sole individuals who were able to escape the Revolutionary takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran composed of two married couples, and two men:
- Robert Anders, 54 – Consular Officer
- Mark J. Lijek, 29 – Consular Officer
- Cora A. Lijek, 25 – Consular Assistant
- Henry L. Schatz, 31 – Agricultural Attaché
- Joseph D. Stafford, 29 – Consular Officer
- Kathleen F. Stafford, 28 – Consular Assistant
The embassy was so understaffed and under supported that the wives were used as members of the typing pool.
The two Hollywood insiders that helped Mendez and the “House Guests” in their endeavor to escape the execution crazy Iranian Revolutionary Guards were Lester Siegel an amalgamation of many Hollywood fat cats (while Siegel did exist and assisted OSS in WW2 there were many men Arkin’s role; possibly Academy Award worthy, was inspired by most specifically Jack Warner). John Goodman’s character John Chambers, an academy award-winning make-up artist did more than just sit around and toss sardonic lines in his role to assist in the extraction. The film does not show our American “House Guests” in any of the makeup and costumes produced by the man who created the faces in the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ and the Spock’s (Leonard Nemoy) pointed ears.
The bottom line is this when your short s couple of liars in the Central Intelligence Agency you outsource to Hollywood. That being said there are some crucially intense moments throughout the film that was directed masterfully by Affleck and everyone should see it in the theater before the film is shelved and put out on Blue-Ray. The film is still selling out here in New York so that should indicate the broad appeal.