Sometimes it's easy to forget, but Ben Affleck already has an Oscar win under his belt. He took home a Golden Statue in 1998, along with co-writer Matt Damon, for his Good Will Hunting screenplay. But despite his early career honor as a screenwriter, Affleck has managed to find his niche in the director's chair. With a phenomenal debut in the form of 2007's Gone Baby Gone and a successful follow such as The Town, Affleck quickly found himself among the elite directors in Hollywood. However, with his third directorial effort, Argo, slated to hit theatres everywhere on Friday October 12th, Affleck graces us with his finest work to date.
Set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 when militants scaled the fences and stormed the U.S. Embassy, Argo follows CIA exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez (played by Affleck) and the efforts he put forth in rescuing six Americans who escaped the kidnapping. While these six men and women discreetly took shelter in the Canadian Ambassador's house in Tehran, the U.S. and Canada were in a race against time to try to rescue them covertly.
Ben Affleck's Argo is an instant classic that molds together brilliant direction, a dynamic screenplay and skilled acting. At the helm of the feature, Affleck uses editing techniques such as quick cuts to help build the action and suspense throughout the duration of the film. Furthermore, the director intertwines real life footage with his own reenactments, and the similarities are amazing. Affleck truly makes you feel as if you're reliving the horrific standoff. Through his efforts, he creates an aura of authenticity that's vital to the success of the film. He's quickly proven that he's a visionary director with a keen appreciation for detail. I've become very impressed with his work and I firmly place him among Hollywood's finest. In addition to Affleck's directorial efforts, perhaps screenwriter Chris Terrio is the unsung hero behind Argo. Boasting the smallest of credentials, Terrio crafts a screenplay for the ages. Using the most precise combinations of comedy and drama, Argo perfectly fluctuates between a tension-filled thriller and a surprisingly lighthearted affair. Argo is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with come Awards Season. Its strengths begin with the foundation of its script and flow all the way to the top with the vision of its director, Ben Affleck.
Another commendable aspect of Argo is the extraordinary cast used to bring this astonishing true story to the big screen. Led once again by Ben Affleck as the film's central character Tony Mendez, Argo actually sees its most shining characters in the form of its supporting cast. Most notable is a shoe-in Oscar worthy performance given by Alan Arkin. Arkin stars as Hollywood Producer Lester Siegel who helps generate buzz for the fake movie being used in Mendez's covert operation. He gives a performance every bit as strong as his Oscar Nominated turn in 2007's Little Miss Sunshine. Arkin and his onscreen counterpart John Goodman are used like chess pieces to complement Argo's more compelling moments. Goodman, who portrays real life Hollywood Makeup Artist John Chambers, teams up with Arkin to provide quick wit and jocular dialogue essential to balancing out the ebb and flow of the movie. In addition to the pair of funny men, Bryan Cranston gives a stellar standout performance as Jack O'Donnell, Tony Mendez's boss in the CIA. To Argo's benefit, Affleck makes the right decision by never attempting to take over the screen. While the wise actor/director shines when it's needed, ultimately he allows the film's interesting plot lines to lead the way. In doing so, he gives his colorful supporting cast every opportunity to fill in all of the empty spaces and completely round out the feature.
All in all, Argo is an amazing true story that manages to translate perfectly to the big screen. Affleck goes above and beyond both of his previous efforts and offers the best film I've seen in years. Argo is a faultless masterpiece and sure to make some noise in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor categories at the 2013 Oscars. Arriving in theatres nationwide on October 12th, Argo is the "must-see" picture of the year. Be sure not to miss it.