DVD review | Argo – Ben Affleck’s shaggy-haired CIA man pulls off an audacious coup

Fresh from triumphs at the Baftas and Oscars, director-star Ben Affleck’s terrific thriller Argo arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.

As you’ll all know by now, the film tells the stranger-than-fiction true story of the outlandish CIA scheme to rescue six American diplomats from Tehran in 1980.

Sporting shaggy hair and a beard to match, Affleck plays CIA agent Tony Mendez, who comes up with a bizarre plan to smuggle the six out of Iran after militants storm the US embassy and take the other staff hostage.

His far-fetched solution: create a fake Hollywood sci-fi movie and pretend that the diplomats are filmmakers scouting for locations in Iran.

To give the project credibility, Hollywood makeup expert John Chambers and veteran film producer Lester Siegel, played with entertaining comic pizzazz by John Goodman and Alan Arkin, lend their support.

The Hollywood scenes are great fun, affectionately satirical and stuffed with witty one-liners. Over in Tehran the mood is very different, with the six fretting anxiously in their hideout in the Canadian ambassador’s home, unconvinced that Mendez’s plan will work.

With the escape hanging in the balance, Affleck skilfully turns the screw of suspense, gaining added traction from an extremely convincing recreation of the setting and period. The film’s gripping climactic scenes can’t lay the same claim to authenticity, but Affleck has done such a superb job throughout that we can forgive him for the film’s few false notes.

Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Warner Bros on Monday 4th March.

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