Thrillers are without a doubt my favorite type of film. Any successful thriller, in my eyes, needs to have three major components -- The ability to draw you in, the ability to make you care about the characters, and the ability to resolve a certain conflict within the film's plot with a climactic sequence of events.
The Ben Affleck directed Argo (2012) fits the three criteria to a tee.
Argo is one of the best thrillers to be made in the past decade and rightly deserves its consideration for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The film opens with the fall of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. Immediately, the workers are told to shred highly sensitive documents with the anticipation of the embassy falling under the protesters' control.
As the revolutionists storm the compound, six American workers manage to flee to the Canadian Ambassador's house, where they sit in isolation while the CIA formulates a plan of rescue.
Enter Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), CIA extraction expert.
Mendez enters the CIA brass' discussion on how to "pick the best bad decision" (as there are no good decisions) to rescue the Americans and deliver them from out of the frying pan.
From there, Mendez formulates the plan to make a fake movie as a cover to extract the Americans from Iran.
The film can be broken down into two parts, the first of which consists of Mendez' collaboration with Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin).
The trio, from there, build the backdrop of the film 'Argo' and issue cover identities for the six Americans.
Having done that, the film really takes off and generates the thrilling extraction once Mendez lands in Tehran.
Audiences immediately gravitate to Mendez, who "never leaves anyone behind" and just how he can pull out these six Americans, who eventually pose as a Canadian film crew.
The teaser trailers essentially spill the plot of the film, as there are no real surprises. Where Argo succeeds is delivering what you already know.
You know the extraction is coming. You know something bad could happen if they're caught.
Affleck delivers in both his directorial sense and his portrayal as Mendez.
Having seen his resume of films he's directed and acted in, it's a safe bet to say Affleck very well could be this generation's Clint Eastwood. He delivers his distinct directorial style, but also gives a powerful acting performance.
Goodman and Arkin both act the part as Hollywood hotshots, who are trusted with highly classified materials, which if leaked could result in the captive's deaths.
Audiences also get a great performance by the six who escaped the embassy. You get their sheer feeling of terror, knowing if they're caught they will likely be held as American spies and will be hung.
It's just a bunch of regular Americans who are tossed into an extraordinary situation, with both having the looming brute force of the revolutionaries pending their capture, and their situation of having to learn an entirely new identity in a span of approximately two days.
If you're a fan of the thriller type films, or just like films that are based on actual events that happened in one of the most volatile times during American foreign relations with Middle East extremists, make sure you see Argo.