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Argo Ben Affleck
Argo Based on the Iranian hostage crisis, Argo tells the story of six American hostages who escaped the embassy as student demonstrators crashed the gates. Hiding out at the Canadian ambassador’s (Victor Garber) residence, the six diplomats await a rescue from the State Department. CIA agents Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) and Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) are brought in to advise the State Department but Mendez quickly pokes holes in all of the plans. With the help of Hollywood industry veterans John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin, one of my favorites) Mendez devises a fake movie production (a science fiction script called “Argo”) as a cover for the six Americans.

In a way, the doomed State Department plans felt like a microcosm of doomed American foreign policy. State wanted the cover story for the diplomats to involve teachers, but all foreign teachers were out of the country at that time. Next they suggested creating covers as agricultural workers inspecting crops, but it was the wrong season. They even came up with a humanitarian aid scheme, but their poster had a black child. American policy too failed to understand what was going on in Iran, despite the urgency of the situation.

Argo manages to be tense, despite the outcome being historical fact. The opening scene recreates the massive demonstration outside the embassy. Diplomats, asylum seekers, guards, and intelligence operatives listen to the rumble of angry Iranians, not knowing if the walls will hold. Student dramatically scale the gates and crash through doors and windows. Asylum seekers fear death, intelligence agents burn files, women fear for their safety. One ill-advised shot from a guard or one unhinged protester and violence could overwhelm the situation. The six escape onto the streets, and immediately we feel their vulnerability. Unarmed and without transportation they anxiously look for safety.

Along with Cranston, Affleck, Arkin, and Goodman, the cast is rounded out with well-known actors Tate Donovan, Zeljko Ivanek (Homicide), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), and Chris Messina (The Mindy Project).
120 minutes
This product was released around October 2012
I consumed this around January 2014
More: Argo
Posted by: Jeff Egnaczyk at: 1/14/2014 9:54:19 PM
Gone Baby Gone Ben Affleck
Gone Baby Gone Gone Baby Gone is a good, not great, neighborhood cop drama. Affleck isn't easy on the neighborhood. Many of the townies we encounter are despicable criminals festering in wretched environment. Some of the hometown characters are decent people trying to do good. Their good is ambiguous at best though. It's as if the environment they've been living in has so warped their ethics that good as they see it is objectionable to the outside world.

Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) is the private investigator hired to look into the central plot, a kidnapping of a young girl. He may be from the neighborhood, but he acts as the outsider in this story of relative morality. I agree with his ultimate climactic moral decision. Then again, like Kenzie, I'm the outsider. I don't see the damage Lionel (Titus Welliver) sees Helene (Amy Ryan) and her like inflicting everyday.
114 minutes
This product was released around October 2007
I consumed this around March 2008
More: Gone Baby Gone
Posted by: Jeff Egnaczyk at: 5/5/2008 6:40:11 PM

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