Roger Ebert has already picked Argo as this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner and he may be right. It’s a well-made movie that shows Americans in their best light, putting one over on the nasty Iranians; the sort of movie that will appeal to Oscar voters.
Back in 1979-80, when it took place, it was known as the Canadian caper. Iranian revolutionaries broke into the American embassy in Tehran, making most of the Americans there hostages for well over a year. Six Americans escaped and were hidden for weeks in the home of Ken Taylor, then Canadian ambassador to Iran.
The movie shows how the six escaped Iran by posing as a Canadian film crew checking out locations for a fake Star Wars like movie called Argo, to be made there. Apparently this unlikely story is true, even allowing for movie hype. Ben Affleck, who also directed, plays the real-life CIA agent who leads the six Americans to safety.
The film is even better as it makes fun of Hollywood while using every Hollywood trick in the book to heighten the tension as the escapees go to the airport and try to leave the country. John Goodman and Alan Arkin have a lot of fun helping Affleck set up the fake movie. Victor Garber plays Ken Taylor, who has said the film doesn’t fairly show Canada’s involvement in the escape. The ending is a little ragged, but it’s an exciting and tense thriller.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.