The notion that Ben Affleck might become a major filmmaker, which seemed at least plausible with his morally conflicted directing debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007), has been decaying ever since, thanks to his gripping but formulaic heist movie The Town (2010) and now this fact-based but politically cautious thriller. In 1980 the CIA and the Canadian government conspired to rescue six U.S. diplomats hidden in private homes after the student takeover of the American embassy in Tehran; their cover was a movie production unit shooting a sci-fi epic, the fictitious offices for which were assembled in LA by makeup legend (the original Planet of the Apes) and covert Agency operative John Chambers. Affleck—who also stars as CIA agent Tony Mendez, mastermind of the operation—has said that he took on the project to break out of his Bostonian comfort zone. Geographically he may have succeeded, but making an anti-Iranian action flick in Hollywood isn’t exactly a daring act.