BY CARMELA FERRO
I had the mighty fine privilege to see Argo’s world premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. If you’ve never TIFF-ed before, you must. It’s magical, inspiring and so much fun, especially if you’re a movie buff, and if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you are.
Before the film began, Ben Affleck came out on stage in all his beauty and vowed to give a short speech to thank everyone that made the film possible. His speech wasn’t short, but who cares when Ben Affleck is standing and talking right before your very eyes? He then proceeded to introduce the film’s stellar cast one at a time. In order of appearance, he introduced Victor Garber, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Scoot McNairy, Kerry Bishe, Tate Donovan and Rory Cochrane. I somehow missed that all these actors were in this film, so to say I had an excitement overload in that moment is a huge understatement. You may not recognize all those names, but by the end of the film you will understand why they won Best Ensemble Cast at the 2013 SAG Awards. You will also understand why the film has seven Oscar nominations and why Ben Affleck getting snubbed as Best Director is a downright shame.
Argo is based on the declassified true story about the secret operation between the CIA and Canada to sneak six American diplomatic personnel out of Iran. In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and many Americans were taken hostage. However, six managed to escape and took refuge in the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador while waiting for the CIA to come to their rescue and get them out of the hostile country. With very few options, CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devised a risky plan to sneak them out by pretending they were a Canadian production crew looking to shoot a film in Iran. With the help of some tight-lipped Hollywood contacts, they created the ruse and Mendez headed to Iran as the associate producer. The operation became a race against the Iranian forces closing in on the truth and the White House’s grave doubts about the operation’s success.
The whole thing sounds kind of crazy right? Well, it was crazy, but it’s all true and Argo shows us the ins and outs of how they got the job done. The film is a great tribute to the incredible work of the CIA and a celebration of the Canadian-American relationship. (Keep your ears perked for some great Canadian nods.) Affleck’s team sets the scene with a modern and old Hollywood vibe at the very same time, and does an incredible job of melding suspense, humour and action seamlessly. It’s light and dark, funny and thrilling, and without a doubt entertaining, compelling and exciting!
Now go watch it Argo fuck yourself! (You’ll need to watch it to get this joke!)