“Agro” aids in actor’s box-office comeback
Eight years ago it seemed that Ben Affleck’s career was over.
Following a slew of box office bombs and a failed tabloid romance, the once-promising star was on his way to the burnout club. Then came “Gone Baby Gone,” Affleck’s directorial debut that garnered him much critical acclaim.
He followed that with “The Town,” which earned him more praise as a director and put him back on the acting map. In theaters now is “Argo,” which is sure to bring Affleck’s career full-circle. Not only is the true story of the Canadian Caper fascinating, the movie about it is brilliant.
After rioting Iranians capture the American Embassy during the Iranian Revolution, six ambassadors escape and take refuge in the Canadian Embassy, unable to return to America.
Enter Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who develops a plan to rescue the hostages while posing as a Canadian movie producer scouting locations in Iran.
The mission, laughable on the surface, is the only hope for the captives’ retrieval. The question is, can Mendez pull it off?
“Argo” is likely to be nominated for Best Film and Best Director at the upcoming Academy Awards. Affleck successfully captures the emotions surrounding the Iranian Revolution, making the audience feel as if it was actually in the middle of it. The suspense, intensity, and even humor of the actual Canadian Caper are well represented in the film. Though at times the tension is overdone (there were obviously scenes invented for dramatic effect), the movie is compelling and tightly paced. Affleck could easily excel solely as a director if he ever decided to give up acting.
As Mendez, Affleck effectively conveys the world-weariness of an experienced agent who knows the risks of such a high-stakes mission but is willing to put his own life on the line to save others. It is probable that Affleck could receive a Best Actor nomination for his performance.
Also exemplary is Bryan Cranston, whose portrayal of Mendez’s grizzled supervisor shows why he is one of the most prolific character actors today. As usual, John Goodman and Alan Arkin make the most of their small roles and steal every scene they’re in.
Not only is “Argo” a tribute to one of the great CIA missions, it very well could serve as the film that completed Affleck’s career revival.
The Setonian gives this movie 4 out of 5 stars.
Sean Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.