Ben Affleck comes into his own with ‘Argo’

Affleck and his awesome ’70s shag star in “Argo.”

In this economy, it’s hard to change career paths. One of the better options for advancement would be to stick with what you know, while gradually dipping your toes into something new. Take Ben Affleck, for example. With his last two directorial efforts, he’s been building his résumé as a director, and with “Argo” it’s clear that he’s ready to do the job full-time.

With each of his films, he’s stepped further outside his comfort zone: With 2009′s “Gone Baby Gone” he stayed behind the camera, putting his brother Casey Affleck in the lead. With “The Town” he did double duty as lead and director. And with this film, he moves beyond his native environs of Boston to take on a complex international incident in the Middle East.

The title “Argo” refers to science fiction film that was never intended to be made. In the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis that started in 1979, six Americans found refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s home. As an “ex-filtration” specialist for the CIA, Tony Mendez (Affleck) is charged with hatching a plan to get them out. He concocts a plot to have the six pose as Canadian location scouts for said film, employing a Hollywood makeup artist (John Goodman) and director (Alan Arkin) to create a believable foundation for the story he hopes to sell to Iranian border police.

Affleck has a steady hand — the comic moments are well-timed, the tension is ratcheted up at an intuitive pace and he has a Scorsese-like command of a soundtrack. He’s also proven to be skilled at casting — especially in selecting Alan Arkin, who delivers some hilariously withering lines in a way that only he can pull off.

All in all, if one day Ben Affleck decides that acting isn’t for him anymore, he’s got a solid backup plan. His talent for filmmaking may after all eclipse the skills that first made him famous.

If you go
   
‘Argo’
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman
Rating: R
Grade: 4/5


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.