2 March 2013 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Argo; The Sapphires; Gambit; Stitches

As a sci-fi-loving child of the 60s and 70s, I believed that you could learn everything you needed to know about politics from watching the Planet of the Apes movies. Now, several decades later, it turns out that idea wasn't so crazy after all; indeed, on the evidence of Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning thriller Argo (2012, Warner, 15) it seems that the creators of rubbery fantasy flicks were at the cutting edge of international diplomacy and espionage all along.

Based on the once-secret, now declassified accounts of the CIA's response to the 1979 storming of the Us embassy in Iran, this stranger-than-fiction tale is a terrific hybrid of factual drama and fanciful invention, which slips nimbly between nail-biting Middle Eastern action and Player-style Hollywood satire. At the centre of it all is CIA agent Tony Mendez, played with beardy conviction by producer/director/star Affleck as the mastermind »

- Mark Kermode

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