Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Scoot McNairy
For a film situated in the midst of a complex era for American-middle Eastern relations Affleck’s “Argo” bathes in simplicity, spurning insight into the period for a by-the-numbers rescue mission narrative. A ‘thriller’ without the thrills, it’s a sort of bedraggled descendant of Spielberg’s “Munich,” with less of the genuine peril or interesting character work which that film – for all of its faults – had in spades. Gleefully aware of its lack of earnestness and celebratory of Hollywood’s mysticism as a weapon against uniformity and protocol, the film-insider knowledge in the opening act works best in gaining a rapport for this lovingly novel conceit. It's less successful when becoming a primarily dramatic text, somehow underwhelming despite its sensationalist approach to a logistical, suspense-geared culmination, underserving both its audience and its intriguing real-life source material.