You’ve got to love a good comeback story; and if ever a phoenix has risen from the ashes, it is Ben Affleck. To go from Gigli to this…wow. While studios are busy pumping out a fifth Die Hard sequel and making an animated Peanuts movie, it is gratifying to know that there is some thoughtful, intelligent film-making happening in Hollywood.

Tony Mendez (Affleck) is a CIA extraction specialist—if you don’t know what that is, I am sure you can imagine. At the height of the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis, six Americans manage to escape the embassy and seek refuge at the home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber). Mendez then concocts an elaborate scheme to get them to safety: He creates a fake movie.

Mendez puts together a film crew with the help of John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), and they get permission from the Iranian government to scout the requisite exotic locations, all in an elaborate rouse to smuggle the diplomats out of the country.

I had zero complaints about this film. It is smart and funny and engaging. Yes, it plays with the truth, but so what? For me, the only downside was it left me wondering why there can’t be more films like it.

It’s an 8.

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