After the release of Gigli, it would have been very hard to imagine a universe where Ben Affleck becomes a director and gets nominated for an Oscar.
Hell, after Pearl Harbor it was hard to imagine him having a career at all.
Yet somehow the likeable Affleck has overcome adversity (if that’s not to unkind a way to describe Jennifer Lopez) and risen Phoenix like from the ashes.
His latest film, the smart thriller ‘Argo’, is his best yet.
Based on the true story of how a small group of hostages escaped revolutionary Iran in 1980 with the help of the CIA, Argo informs and surprises in a way that should see it do decent box office business.
It’s reminiscent of seventies thrillers like ‘All the President’s men’ or ‘Missing’ in it’s ability to instruct us while at the same time gripping us.
I’m sure many people watching this film weren’t even born when the Iranian hostage crisis happened but through seeing this it they can quickly understand that America’s difficulties in the Middle East didn’t begin and end with George W Bush.
For that alone it’s doing the world a tremendous service.
History lessons aside, it’s worth mentioning that is also quite lot of fun. Affleck makes good use of the fact that his character Tony Mendes used a quite bizarre cover story to get into Iran in the first place.
He pretended to be a Hollywood producer looking for locations for his latest science fiction adventure story ‘Argo’, from which the film takes its title.
Amazingly this worked proving once more that truth is stranger than fiction.
Perhaps the only downside of the film is it suggests that Affleck is developing a keen interest in politics. Let me say that no good can come of it. And besides, with so few good films being made these days we need Affleck to fight the good fight in Hollywood not Washington.