Janet and I recently saw Ben Affleck’s new movie, Argo. Let me say at the outset that the film is deservedly rated R for language. There’s no sexual content or significant violence, but the language will make you cringe at times.
Having said that, Argo is perhaps the best movie I’ve seen this year. It tells the true story of a fake movie production created by the CIA to rescue six American diplomats stranded in revolutionary Iran. Canada’s ambassador sheltered the six until they were rescued by Tony Mendez (played by Affleck, who also directed the movie).
Critics have pointed out that Canada’s role was far greater than is portrayed in the movie—their ambassador spied for the Carter Administration and participated actively in the plot to rescue his “guests.” The group’s tense escape from Iran was actually “smooth as silk,” according to Mendez. The famous movie producer (played by Alan Arkin) did not exist. And Mendez’s personal life was not as conflicted as it is depicted in the film.
While Affleck took artistic license in making his film a thriller, the courage he depicts was very real. In the days after the capture of our embassy, every American in Iran was at grave risk. For Tony Mendez to fly into the country on a fake Canadian passport to save six people he had never met was truly heroic. For the Canadians to help our diplomats at the risk of their lives was courageous as well. Mendez performed his role with no public acclaim—the CIA attributed the rescue entirely to the Canadians so as not to put our remaining hostages at greater risk. Only in recent years has the full story been told.
Like our hostages in Iran, you and I were trapped with no way of escape. Like their persecutors, “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Think back to the day your Savior liberated you from captivity to sin and set you free as the child of God. When last did you thank him? When next will you serve him?