a r g o
Affleck takes the best bits of a remarkable true story and turns them into a superb seventies style thriller.
This one surprised broken shark as one of the best films of the London Film Festival. Telling the newly declassified 'too daft to be true' story of a group of American's narrow escape from the Iran in the early eighties, the films bounces back and forth between the chaos of revolution and the chaos of Hollywood as the CIA do their best to set up the strangest extraction plan ever.
Argo manages to step out of its potential generic thriller conventions and helps to boost Affleck’s already decent directing credentials by treading a very fine but always spot on line between tension and laugh out loud humour.
It eschews for the most part any ‘America is great, Iran are the bad guys’ posturing, helped by a pithy summary of US interference in Iranian politics at the start of the film. It then dives straight into top quality seventies style thriller.
It superbly balances humour (from the Hollywood end – Goodman and Arkin are wonderful) with very palpable tension (from the Iran end). The film festival audience burst into a spontaneous round of applause at an event near the end which confirmed just how well Affleck had cranked up the tension to almost unbearable levels.
Intelligent, thrilling and often hilarious. You don’t see that too often.