I recently went and saw “Argo” (which won the Best Picture Award for 2012) with my beautiful wife. I had been wanting to see the movie for the sheer fact that it looked to have a different plot line. We made a date night out of it and traveled to the quirky and cozy Strand Theatre. This was on a weeknight so we found ourselves rubbing elbows with our crowd- the 55+. Oh well, that’s how we roll.
We loved the movie for its intensity, character interaction, but the best scene in the movie was not the plot resolution but rather right smack in the middle. You can check it out at the end of this post (roughly 45s into the clip).
The key scene is between CIA agent Tony Mendez [Ben Affleck] and one of the reluctant-to-cooperate Houseguests (hostages), Joe Stafford [Scoot McNairy]. The basis for the scene is Mendez is pitching the plan to the Houseguests and asking for their buy-in:
Joe Stafford: “You really believe your little story’s going to make a difference when there’s a gun to our heads?”
Tony Mendez: “I think my story’s the only thing between you
and a gun to your head.”
A man (Mendez), armed with a radical plan, desires to save a doomed group of people. He even went to as far as to say, “This is what I do. I get people out” He challenges the experts. He flies in the face of the status quo. The best part of the plan: it’s on his shoulders. He has skin in the game, if you will, and gives up his nice, safe, comfy stateside post to deliver these people from death’s grip.
Mendez arrives and lays out the plan. He faces rejection and an understandably doubtful and resistant group of people. They push back. He is persistent. It boils down to the moment above and the line that silenced the doubt is delivered: “my story’s the only thing between you and a gun to your head.”
The moment of faith has now happened. Joe Stafford has just realized his hopelessness and need for a Savior. This story now has hope. Mendez sees something different in them, people who they are currently not but people who they will become. Matter of fact, he has given them new identities. Furthermore, these identities have been tailored specifically for each of them and are critical to their survival. Not to mention, their lives will never be the same.
This has the Gospel of Jesus Christ written all over it.
We are a desperate people and in need of a Savior. Thankfully, we have been pursued. Thankfully, there is a story between our heads and the gun: the Gospel. Without this story we are left to our own devices and none of us can make it out on our own. In the end, I’m blessed to have been given a new “cover,” a new identity and have the opportunity to be personally hand-delivered from peril by my Savior.
The Gospel sells because it is a story that we all yearn for; a story that hits deep. It sells movies, plays, songs, an books. Better yet, it footed the bill for yours and my ticket from “Iran.”