As disappointing as Denzel Washington’s Flight was, that’s how satisfying Ben Affleck’s Argo is. I wouldn’t go see Flight a second time if someone offered to buy my ticket, I’d go see Argo again and again — even without the senior discount. Where Flight had its moments; Argo has 120 of them.
Megan Basham’s review for World magazine does the film justice, so I’ll give you the link to that article and let you read what she has to say.
For my part, I was struck by the uncanny timeliness of the film. With the needless slaughter of our embassy personnel in Benghazi still very fresh on our minds, today’s timidity and cowardice stands in stark contrast with the courage and heroism of those who set out to rescue these Americans trapped in revolutionary Tehran. I’d love to hear what those folks have to say about Benghazi. I think they were very fortunate that, even thought it was the Jimmy Carter administration, some politicians then still understood the meaning of integrity, loyalty, and patriotism.
Oddly enough, John Goodman is in this movie too. Thankfully, the character he plays in Argo is someone you can admire. No mixed messages here. Good guys are good guys; bad guys are, well, Islamists.
Quoting Megan Basham’s review:
The opening scene from Ben Affleck’s latest film, Argo, a 1970s-era spy thriller that would probably be criticized for being too wild, too implausible, too Hollywood, if it all hadn’t really happened.
… Affleck isn’t interested in assigning blame, but in the much more worthy goal of giving credit. Too often, our intelligence officers serve as lightning rods for criticism. Every failure of foreign policy is laid at their doorstep, yet the very nature of their nameless, faceless work means the public can never know the full extent of their victories. With a tale that is smart, riveting, yet also surprisingly personal and funny, Affleck manages to give the CIA the applause it so richly deserves but so rarely receives.
In this way, Argo serves not only as an expertly wrought piece of entertainment but also an act of patriotic tribute. (It should be noted that this tribute comes with a fairly constant peppering of R-rated language. Though, to be fair, the film’s oft-repeated F-bomb catchphrase was not screenwriter Chris Terrio’s invention. It was the actual tagline Mendez and his co-conspirators gave his mission.)
There’s little doubt that Affleck will get Oscar attention for Argo. There’s even less doubt that, for the rare feat of making a political movie Americans across the ideological spectrum can enjoy, he deserves it.