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Argo / Rated R for language, smoking and violence

With the Oscar folks getting ready for their annual TV show awarding each other for their efforts, it’s time to take a look at the main Oscar contenders for Best Film and determine whether or not you should make an effort to see their slate of nominees. I can help.

Argo presented a problem for its filmmakers. Any time you make a film based on known historic events there is a big challenge. Many people seeing your film may not be familiar with what has occurred, while others remember the event well. When the film depends on suspense for its entertainment value, you have to come up with a storytelling effort that will make the film suspenseful even for those who know the ultimate, and unchangeable, outcome.

Director and star Ben Affleck has done exactly what he needed to do. This film is amazingly well done. He has added top talent including Alan Arkin and John Goodman – who are not at the location where the main part of the story takes place, but provide plenty of humor and side-line realism to a story that needs both of these attributes.

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Argo is about the 1979 seizure of the American embassy in Iran by the revolutionaries and the ensuing efforts to free the US representatives from their captors. This story centers on six of the embassy workers who escape by a back door and end up hiding in the Canadian embassy hoping for a way out.

The way out is designed by the CIA and aided by the Canadian embassy. The plot to get them out is a wild plan to fake the production of a science fiction film and sneak them out as Hollywood filmmakers. The plot seems so improbable that it just might work. Then again, the hostages may all end up shot in the head just outside the economy class lounge of the Teheran Airport.

Fun to watch and suspenseful at the same time is a tribute to the screenplay and the able direction of Ben A. Up until his film The Town in 2010, Ben seemed to be a minor actor and given no credit as a director. After I saw and reported on The Town you know I felt that we may have been making a big mistake about Ben’s directing and writing abilities. Argo proves I was right. Assuming there isn’t another Jersey Girl (2004) in his near future.

Rated 3.5 out of 4.0 reasons I still do not believe they could possibly get away with it. But then Ben did get away with Jersey Girl.

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