Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Argo”

In light of the recent escalation in hostilities between the United States and Iran, I feel it’s a good time to recommend an excellent film that helps trace the history of the long-brewing conflict between these two nations.

Argo is a film that was directed, produced, and starred by Ben Affleck. The film details the Iranian revolution of 1979, during which the Shah of Iran, who was despotic and pro-western, was removed from power by Islamic fundamentalists. In the process, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S embassy in Tehran and took sixty Americans hostage. However, unbeknownst to the Iranians, six embassy staffers escaped and were hidden away in the Canadian ambassador’s home.

Back in the United States, it falls to CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to find a way to infiltrate the country and then escape with the six embassy staffers. In one of the more audacious and bizarre moments in history, a plan is conceived to make cover I.D.’s for the staffers and portray them as a film crew scouting locations in Iran for a sci-fi fantasy film akin to Star Wars. To do so, Tony must travel to Hollywood and find a producer and film studio to make it appear that they are in pre-production of the film without letting in on the fact that it’s a total fake. Once in Iran, it’s a race against time as the Iranian revolutionaries attempt to track down the missing staffers while Tony works to smuggle them out of the country.

Argo is a fantastic suspense-filled caper and was widely praised by critics. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Argo is available at the Union University Library. It is rated  PG-13 for some violence and mild profanity.