Art & Culture

Although Canadians see this film as a jingoistic rewriting of history (and it may be), Ben Affleck's new political thriller is intelligent, funny and exciting and I enjoyed it.

Argo is a you-couldn't-make-it-up-but-it's-true story which I was unfamiliar with. When Iranian protesters stormed the US Embassy in 1979, taking 70 of the inhabitants hostage, 6 escaped and went to hide out in the Canadian Embassy. The Iranians didn't know they were there (at least not at first), but the question for the CIA was – how to get them out? The answer – via Ben Affleck's agent Tony Mendez – was to create a fictional sci fi movie called Argo, with the help of film executives John Goodman and Alan Alda, then for Mendez to fly to Iran with cover identities for the 6 as film makers, and get them out of the country. Improbable, yes, but true. Affleck directed the film as well as starring in it, and does a very decent job in both roles. It's exciting, ambitious, and – occasionally – even political aware, though we end up with a slightly jingoistic thriller.

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