Released 2012 (USA)
American, in English (some Farsi, both translated and not)
Director - Ben Affleck
Stars - Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and many others you’ll recognize
Based on true events. During the Iran Hostage Crisis, CIA officer Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a plot to rescue the six Americans who’ve been hiding out at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran by posing them as a Canadian film crew. Cranston co-stars as Mendez’s boss, Jack O’Donnell; Goodman as legendary Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers, who helps Mendez create the fake movie; and Arkin as Lester Siegel, the producer who also assists in creating the fake movie.
Lots of blue language; violence; brief, drawn female nudity (not full frontal).
It’s so dull that it didn’t hold my attention at all.
On a related note, it’s poorly directed. This whole movie should have been an intense thrill-ride. It’s about a CIA agent using the flimsiest of pretexts to help people escape almost-certain death. I should have been on the edge of my seat, heart pounding. I wasn’t. Not a single second of it felt intense to me. No matter what happened, I never felt that their lives were in danger. If they had been, I wouldn’t have cared because I never got to know any of the characters well enough to care about them.
Sometimes I like Ben Affleck as an actor. This is not one of those times. He came across very flat and emotion-less. I felt no connection to his character.
As always, Goodman and Arkin were a delight (on a side note, Goodman was also in our last winner, The Artist).
I loved the costumes & styling.
I liked that it was about a historical event about which most Americans know very little.
Let me take a moment to plug a fantastic book about the Iran Hostage Crisis, Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden (who is perhaps best known for Black Hawk Down). It’s long but it’s well worth the read. Since it focuses on the hostages that were held in the American Embassy, I don’t think it covers the events portrayed in this movie, or if it does, it does so only briefly (it’s been a few years since I read it). However, it’s still very high on my list of recommendations.
As for this film, I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. It’s one of those films that the longer it went on, the less I enjoyed it. About an hour in, I found myself thinking, “There’s still another hour of this left? Am I supposed to be feeling as bored as those people who were stuck in the same house for over 2 months straight?” Watching my cat chase her own tail is more entertaining.
I give the film 2.75 stars.