Previous rumor suggesting that Ben Affleck's latest directorial effort "Argo" would be screened at the 2012 Telluride International Film Festival turned out to be true. The political drama became the first film to premiere at this year's edition of the festival as it opened on Friday, August 31.
Affleck himself was on hand to promote the film. Before the screening, he introduced his latest work to the audience, "You are the first people to see the movie; the first paying people." He then dubbed the film "a labor of love" and said he felt "really special" to be able to premiere his movie at one of the few remaining festivals in which people care about films above anything else.
Shortly after the screening, "Argo" received thunderous applause from the audience even before the closing credits rolled. The movie soon became the critics' darling and most of those who have watched it even dubbed it a potential Oscar contender for Best Pictures. According to HitFix, the film received an "A-" rating from critics.
"Applause in the middle of the movie. Hearing nothing but 'wow' and 'outstanding' outside the theater. A big hit," Hitfix's awards columnist Kris Tapley tweeted following the screening. IndieWire's Eric Kohn added, "Equally a slick political thriller, intelligent period piece and sly Hollywood satire, Ben Affleck's 'Argo' maintains a careful balance between commentary and entertainment value."
The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg wrote, "[The audience gave] it a 30-second sustained ovation. They also separately applauded when Affleck's credit appeared -- he not only directed but also stars in the film -- and also when the names of Oscar-winner Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who play key supporting characters in the film, flashed on the screen."
/Film tweeted, " 'Argo' is a near-brilliant nail-biting thriller. Fantastic performances/prod design. Ben Affleck's smartest film yet as director," while film critic and historian Leonard Maltin gushed, "Just got to see my first film of the festival here in Telluride & I have to say, Ben Affleck's Argo is terrific #TFF2012."
" 'Argo' - Damn that was outstanding. Got totally lost in the story, still sweating. Cast is fantastic all around, plus Bryan Cranston rules!" praised First Showing. Deadline's Pete Hammond joined the euphoria, "Argo debuts at Telluride. Sensational. Instant Oscar contender. Ben Affleck triumph."
Marking the third directorial stint from Affleck, "Argo" follows a CIA "exfiltration" specialist who came up with a risky plan to get six U.S. diplomats safely out of Iran. The six Americans were taken hostage by militants during the climax of Iranian revolution in Tehran on November 4, 1979.
After being premiered at Telluride, the highly-praised movie will be screened at Toronto International Film Festival next week. It will grace theaters in the U.S. on October 12.