To listen to me and a friend review Argo audibly - check our Podcast: http://hesawshesawfilm.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/pitching-argo-perfectly/
Yes, we all loved Ben Affleck when he was just thought of as Matt Damon's goofy sidekick, all the way back to School Ties, the first movie I remember seeing them in together:
- Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez - again, Affleck doesn't look much like the real-life Mendez, whose picture is shown at the end, but he does a great job in this movie with an understated, quiet performance. There is a very little bit of backstory about his family life, done in a very quick simple manner. He excels in this role by doing a little less. If you want to see him doing more, and going a little over the top - go watch Armaggedon again (which I love!).
- Bryan Cranston as Jack O'Donnel: I think there needs to be a best directing Oscar nod, and a best picture Oscar nod - but in terms of acting - give Cranston a Best Supporting nomination. He doesn't have a ton of screen time - but what he does have he fills with meaning and tension. He is fantastic in this!
- Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel: The big-time Hollywood producer type looks very at-ease on Arkin and he does a wonderful job with this character who believes that if they are "making a fake movie, then it's going to be a fake hit!" His interactions with all the hollywood types are great, but best is his scene with Richard Kind.
- John Goodman as John Chambers: Goodman is wonderful as well in a supporting role as the CIA hollywood contact. He helps Mendez get in touch with all the right people and start making connections. He and Arkin provide some welcom comic relief in an otherwise very tension-filled movie!
- Victor Garber as the Canadian Ambassador: Garber has always been good and is so again in this movie. He takes in the American refugees and gets more and more concerned as the rebels tighten their search. He gives a strong and subtle performance.
- Kyle Chandler as Hamilton Jordon: Another great actor with just a few scenes, but really is fantastic in those few.
- The actors playing the six hidden US Embassy workers: Tate Donovan, Clea Duvall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham and Kerry Bishe - all do an amazing job of conveying how increasingly nervous these people get as time goes on. Once Mendez arrives and begins to coach them on their new personalities and how to get out of the country, each of them does an incredible job of displaying various degrees of willingness and fear of the operation. There is one scene where the Iranian goverment requests to meet the 'film crew' at a market to give them a tour, and the tension is insane!
9 out of 10! Gained points for the old Warner logo at the beginning - too cool! Lost points for the fact that Affleck really looks nothing like the real Mendez (not that big a deal!). Gained points for having me literally at the edge of my seat during the climax of the action (are they going to make it? I don't know? I swear I remember the news story!?!?!) Lost points for the overuse of the movie's go-to joke: Ar-go-f**k-yourself. It was funny, then it wasn't, then it sort of got funny again.
Bonus Video 1: Ben Affleck as Holden explaining the internet to Jay and Silent Bob - and also stating how Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!