Studio Synopsis: Based on real events, the dramatic thriller “Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis, focusing on the little-known role that the CIA and Hollywood played—information that was not declassified until many years after the event. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, the Canadian and American governments ask the CIA to intervene. The CIA turns to their top “exfiltration” specialist, Tony Mendez, to come up with a plan to get the six Americans safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Number of Disks: 2
- Feature Length Picture in Picture: Eye Witness Account
- Rescued from Tehran: We Were There
- Argo: Absolute Authenticity
- Argo: The CIA & Hollywood Connection
- Escape from Iran: The Hollywood Option
Previous to perhaps the last five years, if your general impression of Ben Affleck and his film career has been one of comfortable characters and cocky attitude – a view that may or may not have been the reasoning behind his Best Director snub – you may not be alone. Take for instance his swing-and-a-miss sinkers, “Jersey Girl” and “Gigli,” as well as the dare-you-to-watch-it-again “Daredevil.” Seriously, take them… take them all. Mixed in with other misses, all three films offered little consolation for audiences, but did at least lead Affleck to the marginal consolation of being boyfriend to Jennifer Lopez for a short period, and the larger consolation of finding wife Jennifer Garner. Now take Affleck’s “Argo,” a film with pulse pounding pacing and perfectly realized personas, not to mention a fire fueled by 7 total Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and you may find yourself prepared to extend some well deserved redemption for Ben. And although the film didn’t garner noms for Affleck, Cranston or Goodman, giving instead only one – well deserved as it is – nod to Alan Arkin for Best Supporting Actor, Argo’s heart-over-hype telling and meticulous craftsmanship nabs all in the central cast the seldom deserved title, movie star. The film makes the most of its based-on-actual-events bonus points because; at the risk of sounding partially flippant about this series of serious events, if the film was pulling from fiction rather than fact it may have met with an altogether different viewpoint. “Argo” is a film that could have easily given way to exploit tactics and overinflated antics, but instead raises its bar well beyond those subpar borders to provide an impressive and impression-leaving picture. The extras menu is a treasure trove of historical accounts and enlightening information, combining some absolutely can’t miss sections with others that may only slightly captivate. A superb picture-in-picture experience stands at the ready, featuring interviews with many of the real life people involved – both in the harrowing rescue and the hostages themselves – as this nail-bitter unfolds. And similarly the features “Rescued from Tehran: We Were There” and “Escape from Iran: The Hollywood Option” all strive to provide the most thorough account possible of the rescue operation dubbed, “The Canadian Caper.” These three features offer the bulk and the backbone of the extras supplements, along with a solid commentary track by Affleck and writer Chris Terrio, who strike a pleasant balance between filmmaker ingenuity and engrossing history. The menu’s two shorter sections, “Argo: Absolute Authenticity” and “Argo: The CIA & Hollywood Connection” bring in a bit more Hollywood and a bit less history, both feeling more like extended trailers and/or promotional pieces than must see features. Granted, if you enjoyed the film and are looking for complete coverage of everything given these two features more than fit the bill. But both lack the strides and historical drive of the top tier offerings. So with an intriguingly authentic and well told story, and a premise so farfetched its genesis screams movie, “Argo” is amped up action with a toned down attitude, that will most likely end up with a Best Picture statue.