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Stars: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Scoot McNairy, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, Rory Cochrane, Chris Messina, Zeljko Ivanek, Kyle Chandler, Tate Donovan, Bob Gunton, Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishé, Taylor Schilling, Tim Quill, Philip Baker Hall

Director: Ben Affleck

The danger-fraught rescue of six Americans from the strife-torn Iran of 1979 makes a slightly dull and overlong film, even though scenes of mob violence in Teheran are frighteningly well re-created.

When the US embassy is stormed by thousands of extremists clamouring for the return of the dying Shah to face his 'crimes', most of its staff are taken hostage. But the sextet at the centre of the maelstrom escape and seek refuge at the nearby Canadian embassy.

CIA mastermind Tony Mendez (Affleck), assigned to the case, devises the ingenious plan of getting the fugitives out of the country as part of the crew of a fake film, for which he and his associates will claim to be scouting locations in Iran.

Although director Affleck attempts to keep things moving, far too little actually happens prior to some tension at the airport towards the end, before the film dwindles to a close; its upbeat ending never seems in doubt.

First-rate crowd sequences, however, decent performances from a great cast and a few wryly amusing lines; the drama necessary to make this into a truly exciting feature film is, perhaps, just not there.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by deluxe.
120 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Nov 2012