** Spoiler Alert **
PlotArgo is based on the real story of the CIA’s efforts to rescue a handful of American Embassy personnel from Iran during the evil Carter years. The story begins with the Iranians storming the American Embassy in Tehran. As they do, six Americans escape out the back of the Embassy. They make their way to the home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor. From there, they call home for help.
Naturally, the plan runs into complications throughout and they barely escape.
This film is a lost opportunity.This film has serious potential. For one thing, you have a truly interesting setting. Not only is this an interesting historical moment, but it’s a fascinating location to set a film as few other Western films have ever been filmed in Iran. For another, you have a series of fascinating storylines that are ripe for exploitation. For example, you can explore how to set up a genuine film company as they need to set one up to support their story in the event the Iranians do any investigation of who they are. Then you have the question of how they navigate the Iranian government, which was awash in revolutionaries. Finally, you have the escape plot itself, which calls out for dramatic near-misses. Each of these aspects should make for an excellent and interesting film if done right.
Argo is a story with true potential, but the film underwhelms at every turn. This is a film that doesn’t care about its characters and which prefers Hollywood gimmicks to the solid drama available to it. In a way, it’s as if Affleck (the director) just didn’t care enough to learn the story except at a surface level and he plugged the holes where the tension was missing with chase movie tropes. That makes this film really hard to like.