Affleck shines in “Argo”

Miles Anderson

Dear Ben Affleck:

Your past roles–and trust me, I use that term loosely– in cinematic masterpieces such as Daredevil, Gigli, and Pearl Harbor are forgiven. This movie was awesome! Not only did you successfully impersonate a Hispanic man, but managed to masterfully direct a movie that was both historically accurate and had me on the edge of my seat. Since we inexplicably duped movie fans by not working together after writing Good Will Hunting more than 15 years ago, let’s go work on that second Oscar-winning script.
Your friend,
Matt Damon

Sorry, Matt Damon couldn’t contain his excitement over Argo, the latest Ben Affleck movie that isn’t terrible.

Argo, a movie based on the infamous Iran Hostage Crisis, chronicles six American escapees sheltered by the Canadian Embassy within the dangerous confines of Tehran.
Here’s some background on the situation for non-history majors: In 1979, The Shah of Iran sought solace in America for medical treatment, but not before passionate revolutionaries overthrew him in his home country. Later that year, the violence boiled over into the US Embassy in Tehran, where thousands of Iranian rebels took 244 people hostage for two whole years.

CIA Agent Antonio Mendez (Affleck), center, directs the six American hostages as the seven try to escape the violence in Iran.

In other words, this was not our finest hour—or, in this case—two years.

Affleck’s character, Antonio Mendez, a CIA operative, needs to conjure up a farfetched plan that will quietly get the hostages out of the dangers of Iran.
Affleck, who also directed the film, ensures that the audience feels the palpable tension while still expertly developing all of the main characters, forcing the audience to empathize with them.
As Affleck expertly juxtaposes angry Iranians at the U.S. Embassy with shots of distressed, claustrophobic diplomats, I wondered to myself: “How in the name of Good Will Hunting is Mendez going to pull this off?”
Like Affleck’s The Town and Gone Baby Gone, the movie actually pulls off an emotional undercurrent that seems entirely real for a mainstream film.
The audience connects with all of the characters and situations in Affleck’s movies, and in an age where vampire movies, mindless million-dollar explosions (ehem… Michael Bay) and raging hormones run rampant around Hollywood, it’s refreshing to see a director who can truly engage an audience without any tricks or gimmicks.
Argo doesn’t have any explosions, men in masks running across rooftops, or needless slow-motion shots that take up five whole minutes. It is a legitimate movie, without the recent filler clogging up cinemas everywhere.

Above all else though, Argo works as a movie because it is actually true. Like the Social Network, the Academy Award winning Facebook movie, Argo stays true to the original story without dramatizing any events that unfolded 30 years ago.

Because of that, the movie is strangely both spellbinding and factual. As a result of that peculiar effect, the audience felt a sense of nationalistic pride running through their veins.

During the credits, I was tempted to jump out of my seat and chant “USA, USA!”

Argo is a near flawless film, aside from the minor fact that Affleck needs to cast himself as the hero in every movie he directs (we get it Ben, you’re married to Jennifer Garner. Stop rubbing it in).

Despite that minor qualm, Affleck is quickly blossoming into one of my favorite directors.

I’m proud of him for salvaging a career. Who knows, maybe Affleck can one day measure up to his best bud Matt Damon, or at least write another script with him.

One can only hope.