Sunday Movie Interlude

Ben Affleck, Star and Director of ARGO

It’s so rare for me now to see a film that is currently playing—and by the look of it, it’s nearing the end of its run—that I thought I would write about it. What makes it doubly rare is that both Martine and I liked the film.

When I asked her as we walked out of the theater whether she liked the film, Martine answered that she thought it was all made up. Then she mentioned she knew one of the six people who worked at the embassy who escaped imprisonment by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Revolutionary Guard because her real name was used in the film: It was Cora Lijek, one of Martine’s algebra classmates from her high-school days in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

When we got home from the theater, we looked up the story of the Teheran embassy hostage crisis: Sure enough, Martine saw that the story of the six who hid out at the Canadian ambassador’s residence really happened. You can see for yourself by clicking on Wikipedia. The article there actually names names and gives details of which embassy employees were captured, which released early by the Ayatollah, and which escaped by hiding out as guests of the Canadian government.

As for the film itself, it was strictly an edge-of-the-seat tale, with a liberal admixture of humor, especially in the scenes with John Goodman and Alan Arkin as filmmakers. Ben Affleck plays the role of Tony Mendez, a CIA specialist in getting people across borders. He concocts a seemingly far-fetched idea of pretending to be a Canadian film crew filming a sci-fi fantasy epic in Iran and providing the six escapees with fake Canadian passports and new identities as members of the film crew scouting out locations for the upcoming production of a film to be called Argo.

The actual film called Argo is definitely worth seeing. If Affleck has any more films like this in his plans, he may well become one of our more interesting directors, of which there are so few in Hollywood.