Following his Oscar win for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck saw his career reach new heights. He was all of sudden the leading man in action films and a bankable star. However fame is fleeting and by 2003, audiences had fallen out of love with the affable actor, but in the case of “Argo,” it looks like absence has made the heart grow fonder.
Affleck essentially took a break from acting from 2006 to 2009 to raise a family and find a way to refocus his career; it worked. Following his 2007 directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone,” Affleck found success behind the camera and leveraged that in 2010 when he worked on both sides of the screen with the Oscar nominated drama “The Town.”
Today Affleck returns with his follow-up film “Argo,” which looks destined to have the same type of success. With a fantastic 90% rating (as of this morning) from film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the hostage thriller is netting the actor some of the best reviews of his career.
Ben Affleck is closing in on the perfect thriller. “Argo” shows us how near the mark he has gotten in just three films. – Roger Moore McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Both spellbinding and surprisingly funny. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
A compelling movie, if not a perfect one. – Matt Pais, RedEye
A lock for a Best Picture nomination at this year’s Oscars, many believe Affleck could easily snag his first Best Director nomination, which would be even more impressive given that “Argo” is only his third directorial effort.
The drama is based on the true story of a government mission to rescue six Americans trapped behind enemy lines during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Using a fake move as cover, a CIA extraction expert (played by Affleck) sneaks into Iran to rescue the Americans who were able to seek refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Joining Affleck are Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin who are all also earning strong Oscar buzz for their performances.
Fundamentally “Argo” is a movie about a military operation that is so absurd in nature and over the top in execution that if it wasn’t based on actual events it probably would be getting a much chillier reception from audiences and critics. Yet it is based on actual events and as a result it is being taken seriously (and rightfully so).
In fact the general tone is captured perfectly by Josh Bell of “Las Vegas Weekly” who astutely said in today’s review:
“It’s the kind of movie that wins Oscars, sure, but it’s also consistently entertaining and socially conscious without being heavy-handed.”
Given how rare it is to encompass both of those qualities, it’s no wonder people are gravitating towards this film. As a result this year’s Oscar race could be one of the most interesting to watch in years.
“Argo” opens in theaters today.
So what’s your take New York? Will you be checking out “Argo?” Do you think it could be a Oscar contender. Hit the comments and let us know.
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