Please note this is a region B Blu-ray and will require a region B or region free Blu-ray player in order to play.
Set against the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 and 1980, Ben Affleck’s Argo is a nerve-jangling footnote to the birth of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic. The movie opens at the crest of the 1979 revolution--the storming of the US embassy in Tehran, and the escape of six diplomats to the precarious safety of the Canadian ambassador’s residence. To the rescue is Tony Mendez--a composed CIA agent whose heroism remained classified until 1997--and his state-approved plan to get the stranded embassy staff out of Iran under a brazen cover story: they’re an innocent film crew on a location hunt for the fake sci-fi blockbuster Argo. Hollywood is usually pressed into the service of the state in the name of comedy (either burying dictators in Team America: World Police or just bad news in Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog), but Argo is a true story, and the tone of Affleck's Oscar-winning script is carefully split, switching between mounting tension in consular Tehran and a satire of the Hollywood machine as fronted by Alan Arkin and John Goodman--two raffish producers hired by Mendez to reverse-engineer some convincing buzz for the Argo movie. Affleck himself takes the role of Mendez, the steady-eyed agent betting everything on Hollywood’s age-old efficiency at creating a media circus for a project long before it exists. ‘History starts out as farce and ends up a tragedy’, remarks Goodman, but Argo ends on a patriotic upbeat, and doesn’t reflect much on history. It politely nods at the context of Iran’s attitude to the West, and we’re told about but not shown--bar the blank rage of the revolutionary mob--Iran’s anger at the Westerly flow of resources under Shah Pahlavi. Instead, Argo concentrates on the eggshell complexities of deception in plain sight, including a climactic set-piece in which Mendez’ team must fend their way through layers of suspicious Iranian airport security--with imminent capture, execution and political calamity only on the other side of their paper-thin pretext. It may have the ring of historical escapism, but Argo holds its nerve as a great Hollywood escape.
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