Saturday, October 13, 2012

Argo is the best movie of 2012

My daughter is home for fall break from Tennessee Tech, where she is studying chemical engineering. So my wife and daughter and I went to see Argo, the Ben Affleck-directed flick about an amazing exfiltration of six American diplomatic staff from Tehran. When terrorists seized the US embassy there in 1979, the six staffers escaped and were taken by the Canadian ambassador into his home.

Argo is the best movie I have seen this year. Period. There is not a wasted line or throwaway scene in the whole thing. Affleck's direction is simply brilliant and his starring role as CIA exfiltrator Tony Mendez is extremely well played. And what a treat to see a movie that didn't start as a comic book.

The story is true, of course, and I cannot help but compare it very favorably to 1995's Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks, which told the true story of the space mission of the same name and its near catastrophe en route to the moon. Like the latter movie, you know how Argo ends, but the tension is real.

Argo is one of the very few movies I have seen in which the audience (of about 400) actually applauded when the climactic scene was resolved. Another telling observation: When the end credits music started, only about three people in front of me arose, then they froze, and then they sat back down. No one moved a muscle. We sat silently, reading the credits for several minutes. I won't say why, that would be an unfair spoiler. But you will, too.

I give Argo nine out 10 CIA Intelligence Stars.
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