Sunday, December 30, 2012

Argo



Argo
Rated: R
Length: 2 hr. 0 min
Iranian protesters storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran (capital of iran) on November 4, 1979, in revenge for the nation's sheltering the recently overthrown Shah. More than 50 of the embassy staff are taken as hostages, but six escape and hide in the Canadian ambassador’s house. The U.S. State Department begins to explore options for getting them out of Iran. Tony Mendez (a CIA specialist brought in for consultation), criticizes the suggestions. He could not think of an idea until he went home and watched Battle for the Planet of the Apes and then he was inspired, he planned to create a cover story that the escapees are Canadian filmmakers, scouting "exotic" locations in Iran for a sci-fi film. Mendez and his supervisor Jack O'Donnell contact John Chambers, a Hollywood make-up artist who has previously designed disguises for the CIA. Chambers puts them in touch with Lester Siegel (the film producer) .Together they set up a phony film studio, promoted their plans, and successfully organized the agenda of developing Argo, a "science fantasy" in the style of Star Wars, to add authenticity to the cover story. The protesters children reassemble embassy papers shredded before the takeover and learn that some personnel have escaped. Posing as a producer for Argo, Mendez enters Iran and finds the six escapees. He provides them with Canadian passports and fake identities to prepare them to get through security at the airport. Although afraid to trust Mendez's scheme, they reluctantly go along with it, knowing that Mendez is risking his own life too, and convinced that it is their only option. A "scouting" visit to the bazaar to maintain their cover story takes a bad turn, but Mendez gets them away from the hostile crowd. Mendez is told that the operation has been cancelled, to avoid conflicting with a planned military rescue of the hostages. He pushes ahead, forcing O'Donnell to Quickly re-obtain authorization for the mission to get tickets on a Swissair flight. Tension rises at the airport, where the escapees' flight reservations are confirmed at the last minute, and a guard's call to the supposed studio in Hollywood at first goes unanswered. The group boards the plane, which takes off just as the protesters who uncovered the ruse try to stop them. To protect the hostages remaining in Tehran from retaliation, all US involvement in the rescue is suppressed, giving full credit to the Canadian government and its ambassador (who left Iran with his wife under their own credentials as the operation was underway; their Iranian housekeeper, who had known about the Americans and lied to the protesters to protect them, escaped to Iraq). Mendez is awarded the Intelligence Star, but due to the classified nature of the mission, he would not be able to keep the medal until the details were made public in 1997. All the hostages were freed on January 20, 1981. The film ends with President Jimmy Carter's speech about the Crisis and the Canadian Caper.  I give Argo an A- for it’s mediocre acting and decent action. The fact that is inspired by actual events is very cool.


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