Ben Affleck‚(TM)s third foray into director ladder after GONE BABY GONE (2007, 8/10) and THE TOWN (2010, 7/10) has quite a rosy chance to clinch the first Oscar BEST DIRECTOR nomination for him, and a BEST PICTURE nomination is even more possible, thanks to the oscillating 5 to 10 quota.
Albeit based on the true event, Affleck masters a thrilling suspense running through the entire film without any compromise to divert into a secondary priority catering for heroism which is Hollywood‚(TM)s usual gambit. The 1980s cold-war grainy indigo hue and Middle East settings are accurately revivified, from the intriguing opening sequences of the riot, the film has been sliding through a roller coaster adventures both in USA and in Iran, two paralleled story lines are in alliance with pitch-perfect tempo and tension, maybe for the admirers of the anti-terrorists series HOMELAND, the procedures are all too familiar and corny for political thrillers to spark off some evocative frisson, but the whole film holds up intact in its resilient poise to be entertaining and crowd-pleasing and it did it!
Affleck as an actor may not be a laudable player, but this time he chooses a safer bet in playing the taciturn, diligent secret agent whose self-possession is the main requisite for the severe mission‚(TM)s quirky premise. Alan Arkin and John Goodman pair assume the light-hearted amusement inside the Hollywood industry, Mr. Arkin has his eloquent show-time may secure him another Oscar-nomination. Meanwhile, a touchy but tenacious Bryan Cranston also leaves an indelible trace of calibre in an otherwise flat role as the senior head.
After three steadfast and advancing steps scaling up to a respectable position as an enterprising young director in Hollywood hierarchy, Mr. Affleck is confidently disposed to select more ambitious projects and hopes to achieve what Robert Redford had nabbed in the early 80s, an idol-breaking route to justify oneself he is much talented behind the camera other than possessing an ephemeral pretty face and sinewy physique.
ps: My Oscar entries: BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR and two slots in BEST S. ACTOR.