It’s rare as a pink giraffe, but every once in a blue moon a movie comes along in which each piece fits seamlessly and every detail works. Argo is one of them. I have come to regard Ben Affleck as better, stronger and more self-assured behind a camera than he is in front of one, but in this exemplary, meticulously detailed thriller about a fake movie that saved real lives, he wears both hats magnificently. The result is a movie that defines perfection.
Gifted, intelligent and full of cogent ideas, Mr. Affleck can almost always be depended on to come up with something fascinating, coherent and thoroughly cinematic. Argo, his third feature film as a director after Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010), is no exception. It grabbed me by the lapels and held my attention for two solid hours without a sideward glance, and I can’t wait to see it again. You have to see it twice if you want to absorb the myriad pieces of a jigsaw too fantastic to accept as fact, although we know going in that the recently declassified records of an amazing history lesson prove otherwise. This movie is not only true, but unbelievably true.
“A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”
At last, Mitt Romney has told us one specific thing he intends to do as president: get weapons to al-Qaeda.
Trying to salvage a week of self-evisceration on foreign policy from the Republican presidential nominee, his leading foreign policy advisors, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, told The New York Times last Friday just what a President Romney would do differently in the Middle East. Their critique included the insistence that President Obama “engage” the rebels in Syria. According to the Times, they did “[stop] short of saying that the United States should provide lethal arms” but favored “facilitating” the provision of lethal arms from other Arab states.”
It’s a thought that ought to disturb the sleep of every decent person: The bloodthirsty haters in Iran armed with nuclear weapons and, let’s be clear about this, ready to use those weapons at any moment, against any number of its many enemies.
The prospect is real, and is simply intolerable. Or so you’d think. But some commentators are going wobbly, as Margaret Thatcher might say. Bill Keller of The New York Times spoke not just for himself but for other accommodationists the other day when he wrote a long piece that concluded, in essence, that Tehran is going to get nuclear weapons no matter what we do. So we need to figure out how to live with his unavoidable reality.
It’s hard to know where to start, except to say that no Israeli should expect to live very long if Iran gets nuclear weapons, since it is the express desire of Iran’s leaders to wipe the Jewish state and its inhabitants off the map.
Barclays named Antony Jenkins, head of retail and business banking at the British lender, as its new chief executive. Mr. Jenkins, who started his career at Barclays in 1983, replaces Bob Diamond, who resigned last month in the days after the bank agreed to a $450 million settlement over its alleged attempts to manipulate Read More
Last Thursday, as one of several photographers pointed his lens, two grown men posed by their paintings, shyly smiling and giving no indication whatsoever that they were the reason everybody was gathered. They were young street artists, Iranian siblings ICY and SOT, whose exhibition of around 30 paintings, titled MADE IN IRAN, spent just three days in the Open House Gallery on the Bowery last week.
“They’ve been in New York less than a month,” Mona Dehghan, the artists’ PR rep, told us. “They have been arrested and the like back in Iran for what they do. Expressing yourself creatively is still something that is not fully understood, so to do it illegally on the street is a definite no-go. They are here seeking asylum.” Though they shouldn’t forget that graffiti is a punishable crime here too, they moved to a country where street art is considered high art. Street art’s prominence in the gallery scene has gone hand in hand with the increase of economic disparity in the West, as rebellion and anarchy are suddenly exciting prospects. People such as Banksy and Dan Witz have wrenched street art’s reputation and dragged it from the alleyways, and we asked the artists if the fame of these other artists has had a positive or negative effect on their own careers, especially considering we had heard more than one attendee utter the phrase “It looks like a Banksy.”
As Europeans return from August vacations, Greece is at the top of the to-do list. Athens needs another bailout; the Germans may be wary, but are they willing to risk a Grexit? Some hedge funds are nibbling at Greek debt, increasingly optimistic of further European assistance. Another way to bet on Europe: Read More
When we left for the day yesterday, we thought that the notion that Benjamin Lawsky—the New York State Department of Financial Services chief whose agency had filed an order alleging Standard Chartered Bank had conducted $250 billion in illicit business with Iran—was a regulator gone rogue had been more or less attended to.
At Alphaville, Read More
Not for the first time, Barack Obama said all the right things at the AIPAC dinner over the weekend. All of the expected words and sentiments were out in force—tributes to the enduring friendship between the two nations, reassurances of shared goals and acknowledgments of common strategic interests.
It’s hardly a secret that the Obama White House and the Netanyahu government don’t always see eye to eye. Nor is it a news break to note that some, perhaps even many, Americans disagree with Israeli policy on a range of issues, many of them, of course, related to ongoing tensions with the Palestinians. There Read More
Malcolm Gladwell is sick and tired of hearing about the way social media will change the world for the better. In a lengthy article this week comparing online activism to the Civil Rights movement, The New Yorker scribe belittles Web 2.0′s importance as a tool for social change. “A networked, weak-tie world is good Read More