The closing credits on Ben Affleck's period thriller "Argo" hadn't even rolled at Friday evening's Telluride Film Festival screening before audience members were signaling their thunderous approval.
"Applause in the middle of the movie. Hearing nothing but 'wow' and 'outstanding' outside the theater. A big hit," tweets Hitfix's awards columnist Kris Tapley.
The rapturous reception afforded "Argo" isn't exactly a shocker. With its insider-Hollywood plotline, the movie is almost genetically engineered to please those in the industry and festival crowds.
Or as The Times' John Horn puts it in his Fall Film Sneaks pieceon the movie: "Hollywood is blamed for countless societal ills and rarely receives credit for doing anything good. In Ben Affleck's 'Argo,' however, show business plays a starring role in a real-life Middle Eastern rescue mission that was more inventive than most movies."
"Argo," which will also play at the Toronto film festival in advance of its Oct. 12 theatrical opening, follows the true story of the rescue mission of six diplomats trapped in Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Affleck plays a CIA agent who arranges for the diplomats to pose as a B-movie crew scouting locations in order sneak them out of the country.
"Entertaining combo of political intrigue/Hollywood satire," tweeted IndieWire critic Eric Kohn. "Alan Arkin/J. Goodman steal show. A crowd pleasing 'Wag the Dog.' "
Apparently, though, not everyone was clapping.
"'Argo' opens well, history of America with Iran, but rest of the film shows the Iranians as evil villains, Americans all innocent," tweets freelance writer Aseem Chhabra. "It was really upsetting to see Iranians shown as crass monsters."
Still, "Argo" seems to be coming out of the gate as an Oscar contender.
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