MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +4

Content: -3

Ben Affleck, Jack OíDonnell, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber. Drama/thriller. Written by Chris Terrio. Directed by Ben Affleck.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Argo is based on the true story of a CIA specialist who rescued six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Posing as a movie producer, he entered the country and with a Mission Impossible escape plan managed to get the six hostages out, each posing as a member of the film unit.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Mr. Affleck is a gifted man. Not only does he give a dynamic, attention-holding performance, he also directs the film with real panache. I spoke with a couple of people at the screening who knew the outcome of the real-life incident and even they had sweaty palms as the tension-fueled climax neared. Are all the facts there? I doubt it, but Mr. Affleck remembers his main mission is to entertain. He gives us moviegoers a fun, intense, dramatic thriller.

The film contains one of my favorite cinematic lines in decades. Assessing the state of the world as reported on the nightly news, one character responds in disgust: ďJohn Wayne is in the ground six months and this is what happens.Ē

Alas, it is rated R. Guess why. Thatís right, language. There are several depictions of brutality that include a man shot to death at close range by militants; another is seen hanging in a public square, and several others are brutalized. Though the Shah of Iran was one kind of evil, the new governing force, the Ayatollah Khomeini, was another. He imposed Sharia law and his regime was brutal. This is well depicted in the film. But it is the language that most likely caused the AMAA rating board to grant the film its R rating.

I lived through those days and remember that the late night ABC news program Nightline, with Ted Koppel got its start by nightly reporting on the progress or lack of progress, as it took over 440 days before the embassy captives were released. President Carterís diplomacies had failed miserably. Suddenly, just before Ronald Reagan took office, the hostage crisis ended. At the time, many around the world, including the pugnacious leaders of Iran, feared the new President would use military might. Mighty might. Reagan was perceived as carrying a big stick and willing to use it. Thank God it didnít have to come to that. But also thank God, our enemies feared he would.

Thereís a second thing I remember about America and Iran, something never reported about the American people. With this hostage incident still fresh in our memory, Iran underwent a horrific earthquake that devastated many small towns in that region. You know who immediately sent aid? The American people. I wonít try to defend our leadersí political strategies, as I seem to be the one person in America with a computer keyboard who doesnít feel he grasps the entirety of the political scene, but itís a shame that foreign countries donít recognize the generous and humane hearts of the American people. Thereís something admirable about a people who rush to provide aid and restoration to a former or even present enemy. Now that would be a movie. There are several accounts from which show folk could draw. The Berlin airlift, for one, where American and English fighter pilots dropped food and supplies (even candy for kids) to the citizens of Berlin after WWII, when Russian military had surrounded the city with the intent of starving the Germans. Then there was the aid that helped rebuild Japan after the war. Was it politically sound? Sure. But it also demonstrated the decency of one people toward another. There are some great movies that have yet to be made. You know, ones that show America in a good light.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual innuendoes.

Obscene Language: Thirty-some obscenities, mostly the f-word; the f-word is even incorporated into a oft repeated catch phrase.

Profanity: Four profane uses of godís name and two of Christís, some coming from the lead character.

Violence: Several graphic violent images, including a realistic looking close range shooting; we also see a body hanging in the middle of the city; several brutalities. A little blood.

Sex: None.

Nudity: None.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None.

Drugs: Lots of drinking and the lead smokes throughout.

Other: None.

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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