Ben Affleck 'Smartly Directs' His New Movie 'Argo'

Oct 12, 2012
Originally published on October 12, 2012 5:36 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Moving on, now, on this Friday morning. The new film "Argo" tells an incredible true story - how a CIA agent rescued six Americans from the jaws of the Iranian revolution; with a little help from Canada, and the good folks of Hollywood. Ben Affleck directs and stars, and Ken Turan has our review.

KEN TURAN, BYLINE: "Argo" begins on Nov. 4, 1979, when a mob of Iranians stormed the American embassy in Tehran, and took dozens of hostages. But six Americans secretly escaped the building, and took refuge in the Canadian ambassador's residence. The CIA turns to rescue expert Tony Mendez, played by Affleck, to get them out.

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TURAN: Mendez comes up with the idea of having the Americans pretend they're a team of Canadians who entered the country to do location scouting for a movie. A Hollywood producer asked to help with the deception - wonderfully played by Alan Arkin - is flabbergasted at the prospect.

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TURAN: Once Mendez arrives in Iran, "Argo" turns serious again. Affleck, as an actor, is at his best, getting the nervous houseguests to understand the severity of the situation.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARGO")

TURAN: "Argo" was persuasively written by Chris Terrio, and smartly directed by Affleck. He is especially good at cross-cutting between the different stories; briskly moving back and forth between the houseguests, the Iranians, the bureaucrats in Washington, and the Hollywood types. Americans in the movie have to endure a whole lot more jeopardy than apparently happened in really life. But this is no documentary. It's a major studio motion picture - and a heck of a good one, at that.

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INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION, and for the Los Angeles Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.