Having taken Public International Law, I was aware of the US Embassy Hostage crisis in Iran as a violation of international law. I was not aware that six American escaped the embassy or that Canada played such a key role in their rescue. Ben Affleck was very successful bringing this story to life in Argo.
You are probably aware of the key plot details of the film. Six Americans escape the embassy in Tehran after it is taken over by Iranian students and seek refuge at the Canadian Ambassador's home. The CIA came up with a genius cover story that a Canadian film crew is scouting locations in Iran and uses forged Canadian documents showing the Americans are crew members to get them out of Iran.
My favourite parts of Argo were the scenes with John Goodman and Alan Arkin. The sharp and witty dialogue stole the scenes. I also appreciated that in the end, the whole "mission" relied on those two answering a phone call. I also appreciated the crazy Hollywood costumes and the frequent comments about the smoke and mirrors reality of the movie industry.
Another aspect of the film that I keep coming back to is the images of women in the Iranian student movement. Through the film women were given sinister roles; they were shown monitoring the embassy using walkie-talkies, wielding ak-47s, and the voice of the student movement. The use of "violent women" imagery was very effective and I found myself feeling disturbed every time I saw it.
Despite enjoying the Argo, I was struck by two negative things. First, I did not appreciate the callous references to Canada or downplaying the truly heroic role the Ambassador and his wife played throughout the crisis. Secondly, I do not think the Iranian students were given a fair portrayal. The brief explanation of America's history in Iran at the beginning of the film was not sufficient to give the audience a true understanding of Iran's position during the crisis. The film painted the Iranians as "bad" without digging into the reasons for the student revolution. Considering the hostility between America and Iran today, I think Argo has the potential to deepen tensions and was not thoughtfully produced. The hostage situation was a crisis, but there are two sides to the story and Argo fails to tell both.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this film! I would recommend going to see it in theaters and enjoying a tub of popcorn with it. I am happy that Ben Affleck is making a career rebound and hopefully he will make another hit soon.