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Argo

Director:  Ben Affleck
Year Released:  2012
Rating:  2.0

Following the hostile takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran back in 1979, six U.S. diplomats were stuck in no-man's-land, so C.I.A. operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) concocts a plan to get them out: convince the Iranians (and Hollywood) they're making a fake movie, make the diplomats members of the film crew and sneak them out of the country on a Swissair plane. Affleck and his screenwriters avoid delving into the politics of the situation - and turn the Iranians into a horde of angry, suspicious, faceless people - to focus on the tactics of arranging the escape, but aside from a (most likely fictional) final section in which Affleck and crew have to pass through the airport security (and get chased after by militants) this is curiously drama-free: what doesn't help is that Affleck shows the diplomats enjoying their bourgeois luxuries (wine, wonderful living quarters) and fails to really define them as unique "individuals," and even Mendez's "inner conflict" (over separation from his wife and missing his child) basically consists of Affleck shot in close-up, smoking and drinking. Curiously flat and a little self-serving, although the jabs at movie-making in Hollywood (equating a director with a monkey, for example) make the subtext more interesting than the actual rescue itself.

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