Originally posted by myself 12-29-2012 on Examiner.com
Year in Review: Number Two ‘Argo’
‘Argo’ was directed by Ben Affleck. Screenwriter is Chris Terrio. Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Based on the events of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Plus the 2000 novel Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Tony Mendez.
CIA Agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) suggests a unique plan to rescue six embassy staff members. They fled the U.S. embassy in Tehran when it was raided by anti U.S. militants. They find shelter at Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor’s (Victor Garber) house. Mendez suggested that they fund a fake movie. And create fake identities and passports for the escapees.
Passing them off as a Canadian film crew scouting Iran for set locations. Mendez’s supervisor Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) signs off on the idea. They recruit John Chambers (John Goodman), a Hollywood make-up artist and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), an old school Hollywood film producer, to help with the mission. They go in whole hog. Writing a screenplay. Holding press conferences.
Creating storyboards to pitch the story to Iran officials. Mendez goes to Iran to debrief the escapees himself. For plausible deniability, the CIA gives all credit to the Canadian government and their ambassador. The ‘Argo’ mission is given the official codename ‘Canadian Caper’.
The good: The entire cast. The brilliant idea by retired CIA Tony Mendez. Using the Hagia Sophia as a set location. Siegel’s catchphrase.
The bad: The Hollywood version of history.
The ugly: The hostage crisis.