Argo follows a CIA operation to rescue six refugees from the dangers of the Iraq revolution of 1079. Seeing it impossible to gain access to Iran conventionally, barricaded as the country is, the CIA calls on Extraction specialist Tony Mendez who concocts a plan, inspired by Planet of the Apes. The Plan? The CIA must create a fake movie, complete with a script, castings, and advertisements. The movie in question, Argo, takes place on mars; Iran happens to be the perfect place to film such a movie.
The film’s first and second acts present and interesting look at hollywood circa 1979. Its post-Star Wars sci-fi obsession, which Mendez and co. exploit to get their ridiculous b-movie greenlit. The true-to-period alien and robot costumes are extremely funny, and there is an added air of comedy because of what a gigantic joke the whole thing really was. Creating a fake movie is something that could never happen today with our increased media saturation, but back then, the public bought the ruse hook, line, and sinker.
Fictional as it is, the final escape sequence is probably the most thrilling. As the group of refugees and Mendez finally board the plane out of Iran, the revolutionaries begin piecing together (literally, realigning the strips of shredded documents) who they really are. The Iraqis race after the plane furiously, and for a moment, it seems like they might catch it. When the aircraft finally takes off, the audience reaction mirrors that of the escapees, disbelief, and then cathartic but apprehensive rejoicing. Even though anyone informed as to the nature of this event knows how it is going to end; Affleck, proving his directorial mastery makes the operation’s success seem like a miracle.