The controversial, impeccably made “Zero Dark Thirty” chronicling the hunt for Osama Bin Laden begins with a dark screen. As we hear alarmed voices crying out we realize it’s 9-11. Cut to scenes of a terrorist suspect subjected to various tortures—waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in a small box—all in disturbing close-ups. CIA agent Maya observes, reacts, and comments.
Director Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has every element an entertaining film could want: terrific cinematography, solid sound design, a clever script, breathtaking pacing, brilliant editing, and superb acting—all in the service of a dynamite story based on real, mind-boggling events. It begins with the 1979 storming of the US embassy compound in Tehran.