Argo is a historical drama thriller film that is a dramatization is adapted from a true story told in the book The Master of Disguise by CIA operative Tony Mendez. After, militants stormed the United States embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, more than 50 of the embassy staff were taken as hostages, and six escaped and went into hiding in a nearby house.
Within days, Mendez (Ben Affleck) was hired by the U.S. State Department to get them out. Mendez had been a CIA exfiltration specialist brought in for consultation on how to get the 6 men and women out. He devises a plan that involves pretending to make a movie and pretending that the six Americans are working on the movie. With the help of two Hollywood big shots (John Goodman and Alan Arkin), it begins to looks as if Mendez may actually pull off his plot.
Affleck continues to prove himself one of Hollywood’s best, most intelligent ‘mainstream’ film-makers. In Argo he manages to combine nail-biting suspense created with a minimum of violence or standard movie action, a sharp, dark sense of humor about the weirdness of both espionage and Hollywood, and makes a film about getting American hostages released from Iran without giving in to jingoism.
Affleck even takes the time at the beginning of the film to put the Iranian revolution into a larger context of prior American involvement and manipulation in Iran’s politics, thus making the Iranians’ hostage taking horribly wrong, but also somewhat human and understandable.
Director: Ben Affleck
Year of Release: 2012
Character to watch: Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?