“Argo” Left me Wanting a More Compelling Story

I saw “Argo” a couple of nights ago, and I was left wanting a more compelling screenplay. There is not much action nor suspense until the last 30 minutes.  The acting is first rate, and it is a shame that Ben Affleck was not nominated for a “Best Actor” Oscar, because other than this  I don’t see the academy bestowing too many awards on this film, especially with the likes of “Lincoln”, “Sky Fall”, and “Zero Dark Thirty” in contention.  According to the president of the day, Jimmy Carter, the story is 90% accurate but for the role the CIA played in setting the rescue up, which in fact was played by the Canadian government of the day with Flora McDonald as the minister for External Affairs and Joe Clark as the PM.  Having lived in Canada during the crisis, I was somewhat perplexed by the story in the movie which had the CIA and the Ben Affleck character be the hero when in fact, Ken Taylor, then Canadian ambassador, played the pivotal role in getting the hostages out.  The Swiss abided by having the plane fly out of Tehran. Taylor convinced the, then Prime Minister of Canada Joe Clarke, to issue Canadian passports to fool the Iranians into thinking the six Americans were Canadian citizens. The covert operation was called: The Canadian Caper.  I cannot imagine how this movie could possibly “thank Canada” as Mr. Affleck says he intended to do with such a distortion of truth.  CIA agent, Tony Mendez as portrayed in the film, was never a pivotal character nor only hero in the real story.


Putting aside, the lack of historical accuracy, as an entertaining film the movie fails with such a poor screenplay that is all over the place with little focus on the real drama and suspense in getting the hostages out alive.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 4; it shouldn’t take an hour and twenty minutes before I am hooked into wanting to watch the rest of the story, imaginary or real.

WITH: Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez), Bryan Cranston (Jack O’Donnell), Alan Arkin (Lester Siegel), John Goodman (John Chambers), Victor Garber (Ken Taylor), Tate Donovan (Bob Anders), Clea DuVall (Cora Lijek), Scoot McNairy (Joe Stafford), Rory Cochrane (Lee Schatz), Christopher Denham (Mark Lijek) and Kerry Bishé (Kathy Stafford).

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