Saw the movie Argo the other night.
One of the things I enjoyed most
…. SPOILER ALERT …
(setting aside any and all discussion
of what’s movie fiction and what’s history …
and how much of history is fiction anyway!)—
one of the things I enjoyed most—
with the CIA involved—the trained spies,
with the hierarchies of power involved
from the President of the United States and his chief of staff,
to the State Department, to the CIA leadership,
the crux of the movie still came down to one person,
one CIA agent, Tony Mendez
(now retired and working, by the way, as an artist in western Maryland!),
doing his job with integrity,
and, even more importantly, to my mind,
to ordinary people like the Canadian ambassador and his wife,
Ted and Pat Taylor, who took in the six US citizens
who escaped the embassy.
And, arguably most importantly, to Sahar,
the Taylor’s Iranian housekeeper,
who figured out just who it was the Taylors were hiding.
And we were nervous, in our theater seats.
We were kept nervous, in our theater seats.
We didn’t know what she was going to do
with what she had discovered.
We were scared she would pass the information along
to the revolutionaries—
betray her employers,
but she didn’t.
She lied to her fellow Iranians.
She did not betray her employers or their “guests”—
at considerable risk.
And as the movie winds down,
we’re glad to see her escaping—
though it’s into Iraq …
which if we stop to consider
the hell it’s poised to become
must give us pause.
And we don’t know what happens to her.
So here’s what I’ve been mulling:
are the choices of Tony Mendez and the Taylors
vindicated in the successful extraction of the six?
Their choices are vindicated in being the choices they made.
Success in the mission
is not the criteria by which we evaluate
what they did—
though lack of success
would have resulted in a very different movie …
if in a movie at all.
And yet, looking to the success of Tony Mendez and the Taylors,
juxtaposed, as it is, with Sahar’s circumstances,
her “success” was simply(!)
being who we think she should have been—
who we hope we would be.
If that juxtaposition was intentionally drawn,
a very good movie is even better than I thought!