Viewed – 02 March 2013 Pay-per-view
Considering all the attention this has got recently, nabbing the coveted Best Picture award at this year’s Academy Awards, I was thirsty to see if it lived up to the hype. Ben Affleck stars and directs the true story of a CIA agent charged with the job of bringing home a group of American diplomats from Iran in 1980 following a political uprising. As it’s near impossible to step foot in the country, Affleck comes up with the idea of posing as a film maker, and smuggling the diplomats out as part of his film crew.
Co-starring Alan Arkin and John Goodman as a couple of Hollywood effects guys, this unusual concept proved thoroughly gripping, helped immeasurably by a topical backdrop of violence and conflict, which is still relevant today. The seventies / early eighties setting is done brilliantly, the movie boasting an very authentic look, even down to the grainy photography, and all the costumes, cars, locations etc transported me to the period. Affleck is very good as the CIA agent who put a very bizarre plan into action, and carries the film probably better than he’s done in years. It’s also not hard to see why this was right up the awards panel’s street – painting America / Canada and even Hollywood in a favorable light.
Despite some good lines I felt Alan Arkin was disappointing, considering his nomination, although (a very out of shape) Goodman as ever is enjoyable despite a limited role. This remains Affleck’s movie however and his directing is accomplished, gritty but still palatable despite the subject. The story is a little simplistic when all is said and done, but didn’t stop the movie being tense and thrilling at times, and with a good pace, I had a very good time.
Verdict: 4 /5