Argo – United States, Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck was there!! I have pictures!! This was at the Elgin Theatre so there was a huge audience and Ben was charming but I do have some complaints. This film is based on the recently released CIA files relating to the rescue of 6 American Diplomats who escaped the US Embassy in Tehran in 1980. Ben was very complimentary to the Canadian audience for the help offered to the diplomats but the film really minimized the courage and risks the Canadians took to save the six Americans. While at the time all credit for the escape went to Canada it was the CIA who ultimately led the escape. Nonetheless the Canadians took them in, arranged the passports and kept them hidden for 79 days at great risk to their own lives. Ben’s film basically gives full credit to the CIA and the Canadians are portrayed as flunkies essentially. Very bad on you Ben but thanks for making an otherwise thrilling movie (fictionalized as it is.) This is Affleck’s third film as a director and the previous one –The Town was amazing. This one is also very good (some say his best) but misrepresenting Canada eats at me I have to admit. Still, I was just as thrilled as the rest of the audience when Ben (who also stars in the movie) rescues his compadres.

One other complaint and one other word of praise: The film does note that the current Iranian government and militant Islamic regime is a direct result of the British and American Secret Services overthrowing a left wing democratic government that had nationalized the oil industry and putting in place the brutal Shah who later was overthrown resulting in the current regime bent on revenge. Nonetheless we are to sympathize (and do) with the US diplomats who are dealing with the sequelae. The film also is really well written and two supporting characters played by Alan Arkin and John Goodman offer some the best comic relief I have ever seen. So… despite my whining about Canada, this will be a big hit when it is released shortly. Leave your Canadian pride behind and go see it if you like thrillers. You can’t miss.

ARGO

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