"Argo" is the simple but extremely effective telling of a mission to save six Americans who were hiding in Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Part of me feels like the hostage crisis would have been better served as a more in-depth mini-series* but as a stand-alone film "Argo" hits the right notes and is an entertaining (if not enthralling) two hours. The only thing that takes away from the film is that it is fairly standard; it hits all the right notes but they are the notes that you expect to hear. The acting is solid but nobody in the main narrative stands out. The two "stars" of the film are John Goodman and Alan Arkin who do a great job as the Hollywood duo who helps Ben Affleck's character create and sell the fake film. I wouldn't be stunned to see one or both of them get a nomination, especially since Hollywood always seems to give nods to insider-type films/roles.
*The one thing that disappointed me a bit was that the end credits didn't mentioned one of my favorite factoids about the hostage crisis. The crisis ended on January 20th, minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. While Republicans try to spin this as a sign that Ayatollah Khomeini was afraid of President Reagan, the reason that is more credible is that he actually just despised Jimmy Carter. The treaty and release of the hostages was negotiated the day before but Khomeini refused to release the hostages until after Carter was officially out of office; one last fuck you to the President.
But one of the reasons I could see that being left out is that the film avoids politics altogether. This isn't surprising from Affleck, who once gave one of the most inoffensively depressing appearances on the Bill O'Reilly program during one of the Democratic conventions (can't remember which year.) Of course, that just means that people will read into the film. The National Review wrote a response to the film about how it showed just how feeble Jimmy Carter was as President (and, obviously, comparing him to Obama.) In the end, for the movie Ben Affleck was making, leaving politics out of the equation was the best decision but part of me feels like a deeper look might have made for a more intriguing production.