by Megan Bianco
In retrospect, many expected Ben Affleck’s career to follow a path similar his Pearl Harbor (2001) co-star Josh Hartnett, a former teen heartthrob who makes occasional movie appearances. But Affleck already shared a Best Screenplay Oscar with best friend Matt Damon as both broke into leading men careers with Good Will Hunting (1997). After a string of action films and romantic comedies, Affleck took a note from George Clooney and tried his hand at directing. Turns out he’s pretty good at it. Movie critics and viewers loved Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010). His latest project in theaters, Argo is receiving rave reviews as well.
Based on real life events in 1979-80, Argo tells the tale of CIA-assigned exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Affleck) flying to Iran to save six Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy from Iranian radicals on the hunt for them. Mendez comes up with the scheme to rescue the group by pretending to make an on-location sci-fi movie titled Argo, with the help of make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and director Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin).
The first hour introduces the talented cast, including Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, Clea DuVall, Rory Cochrane, Victor Garber, Chris Messina, Bob Gunton, Philip Baker Hall and Taylor Schilling. Hour two keeps moviegoers on the edge of their seats as Affleck and crew try to nonchalantly, yet hurriedly escape Iranian soil.
The Town was a revelation for Affleck, but Argo is his magnum opus.