“Argo,” a historical thriller now in theaters, is the third full-length picture directed by Ben Affleck.
For me, Affleck became a household name in 1997 when he and buddy Matt Damon wrote and starred in “Good Will Hunting.” Not long afterward, lead roles in films like “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor” solidified Affleck as a Brad Pitt-level star.
In 2003, however, Affleck starred in “Daredevil,” “Gigli” and “Paycheck,” all of which received sour reviews from the critics. The 2006 gem “Hollywoodland” brought a new dimension to the actor. His role as George Reeves was delivered with a subtle depth that really gripped this reviewer.
There were just as many misses as there were hits in his acting career, but he maintained a strong fan base.
Then came the 2007 release of “Gone Baby Gone,” Affleck’s full-length directorial debut that received enormous critical acclaim and spurred the actor’s transformation into perhaps a little less of a Brad Pitt and a little more of a George Clooney. Affleck followed that by directing and starring in 2010’s powerful crime drama “The Town.” So when I learned he had his sights set next on “Argo,” my expectations were very high.
“Argo” tells the story of six U.S. diplomats hiding in Tehran, Iran, during the 1979 hostage crisis. Affleck stars as Tony Mendez, a CIA agent with the escape plan so crazy that it, well, worked.
“Argo” is a certifiable hit. Affleck really has hit his stride as a director and surrounds himself with top-notch actors like Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who recently was honored at the Savannah Film Festival. The story-telling here is effortless. It’s such a simple film, yet Affleck knows when to tell the whole truth and when to embellish. He keeps the suspense high on a story that history already has revealed the ending to and transports us to Hollywood to Tehran and, of course, to 1979.
I’m a big fan!
McBrayer’s column appears weekly in the Courier. If you’re a fan of Showtime with Sasha, watch reviews at www.coastalcourier.com.