The suspense built in the few final scenes of Ben Affleck’s latest project, and surefire multiple Academy Award nominee, “Argo,” is comparable to the anxiety felt in a dentist’s office awaiting a root canal.
Armrest clutching, teeth grinding and slight perspiration feel only natural under the circumstances.
The dramatic thriller based on the true events is set in the midst of the 1970′s Iranian Revolution and tells the story of the unusually ludicrous plan used to free six American hostages hiding in the home of the Canadian ambassador after Islamist militants take control of the U.S. embassy.
An all-star cast including Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston and Victor Garber is led by a fully bearded Affleck, the film’s director, as Tony Mendez, an American Intelligence officer responsible for the mission to return the entrapped back home.
Father to a ten-year old boy, Mendez, devises the plan of posing the group as a fake film crew scouting a location for their latest science-fiction movie, “Argo,” after attempting to catch up on his son’s school day while watching “Planet of the Apes” from a distant hotel room.
With the help of a once-Hollywood hotshot, Lester Siegel, played comedically perfect by Arkin, and John Goodman as Special Effects master, John Chambers, as well as with wavering support from Cranston’s, Jack O’Donnell at CIA headquarters, Mendez sets forth on his mission.
Quick scenes of Islamic sweatshop children reassembling shredded U.S. documents along with seamless cuts like one from a tight shot of a frantically in-use typewriter to a wide-shot of a defeated Mendez in a quiet, empty hotel room, are examples of one of the film’s strongest features, flawlessly clean editing.
A lighter humorous undertone is complemented by a wonderfully suitable soundtrack which contributes appropriately to the two-hour long film’s smooth flow from heart-stopping suspense to short, rare moments of relief.
Airport scenes showcase the crew members’ anxiousness along with the film’s strong writing and by the time the credits roll, nothing is left unaddressed.
“If we wanted applause we would have joined the circus,” said Cranston’s, O’Donnell at one point in the film.
However, thankfully for Affleck, clowns and elephant acts are probably not to be expected in his near future. As often felt while leaving the dentist’s office, applause was certainly necessary as exiting the theater.