A best-picture Oscar winner has just hit Netflix. An espionage true story featuring actor/director Ben Affleck. The name of the film in question is Argo, widely considered one of Ben Affleck’s best contributions to cinema.
Argo, released in 2012 centers on the dramatic events of November 4th 1979. On this fateful date, the US embassy in Tehran, Iran was stormed by militants, with 66 Americans taken hostage. In Argo, six US nationals flee the embassy and take refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. It quickly becomes clear that this is only a short term solution and time is not the ally of the half dozen Americans. As a result, the US government turns to Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) a man skilled in the art of extraction. The plan hatched to extract the American civilians is far-fetched, to say the least. Mendez decides to pose as a film producer on a location scouting mission in Iran and have the six American civilians posing as his film crew. The film is tense, gripping and in part surprisingly humorous. To get a flavor of what it has to offer, one can see the trailer below.
It is clear from the trailer that in addition to a gripping story Argo is packed with a stellar cast. In Argo, Ben Affleck is joined by the likes of Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Like The Town before it, Affleck also sits in the Director’s chair. Affleck also served as a producer on the film alongside the likes of superstar George Clooney. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio. This proved to be a winning combination as Argo went on to win three Oscars at the 2013 Academy Awards. One for William Goldenberg for Best Achievement in Film Editing, another for Chris Terrio for Best Adapted Screenplay and finally the top prize of Best Motion Picture. The film was nominated for a further four awards in the categories of Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score and Best Sound Editing.
In the eyes of the Academy, Ben Affleck’s Argo is well worth the tag of a ‘near-perfect’ movie. It would appear that critics are also in wide agreement that the film is worthy of its numerous awards. On the critic’s aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Argo achieved a critics consensus score of 96% based on 360 reviews. Over 100,000 ratings on the site see the film score a 90% audience rating. The near-unanimous verdict is that Argo is incredible cinema. The film even performed admirably at the Box Office, grossing approximately $230 million worldwide, a number rarely achieved by the films in the Oscar picture.
Argo represents one of the high points in Ben Affleck’s rollercoaster up and down film career. Affleck burst onto the scene in the beloved Good Will Hunting, but a series of flops followed in Pearl Harbour, Daredevil and Gigli. Affleck’s career started to trend upward again with the release of Gone Baby Gone in 2007. The film saw Affleck take his seat in the Director’s chair to widespread critical acclaim. He then followed this up with directing The Town, another critical darling that he also starred in before repeating this with Argo.
Ben Affleck followed Argo with a strong performance in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. However, when Affleck was cast as Batman things started to decline for the actor again. After the casting was initially met with a fan backlash, things turned worse when the theatrical releases of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad & Justice League (2017) all were hit with critical negativity. However, the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League reinvigorated Ben Affleck’s Batman and he will now be returning in The Flash alongside Michael Keaton’s version of the world’s greatest detective. While many believe this will be Affleck’s last time to shine as Batman, rumors have started to swirl that he may not be putting down the cowl after all. Fans will be waiting with bated breath to see whether The Flash will prove to be Ben Affleck’s chance to show just how good his Batman performance can be. Elsewhere, Affleck’s latest film Deep Water is getting a poor review from critics in what could be another trough in his up and down film fortunes. However, having Netflix reminding him of his Oscar-Winning Argo exploits will certainly make Ben Affleck rest a little easier.