‘Hostage’ review: A trove of HBO documents that tackle the Iran Hostage Crisis from every angle, including from then to now


“Hostage” tells several big stories in one, from the history of US intervention in the Middle East to Iran hostage crisis‘impact on the president’s politics to the influence of that period in the media, launching “Nightline” as a by-product. The result is a resounding ride down the lane of bad memory, highlighting how those ripples are still apparent more than 40 years later.

What makes this four-hour HBO presentation so rich is the fact that the team of five directors interviewed parties representing all sides of these events, conveying the history of the show. US-Iran relations in all its complexity. That included several Iranian students who planned to hold the US Embassy for 48 hours in 1979 and ended up taking more than 60 Americans prisoner, holding 52 of them for 444 days.

In the process, they crippled the Carter administration, after President Jimmy Carterdespite his human rights rhetoric having come to power, he accepted the Shah of Iran despite the severe abuses under his regime – words and actions that engendered hostility towards America when the revolution broke out.

“History will say that we became the Reagan president of the United States,” said Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, one of the student leaders.

Perhaps first of all, “Hostage” affects the impact of daily coverage outside of Iran, and how the hostage-takers maximize the situation in a way that makes Carter look weak and incompetent in the light. the relentless brilliance of the camera.

“This is the first U.S. foreign policy crisis to be fully televised, and it’s very television-friendly,” said Gary Sick, an expert on the National Security Council and the Persian Gulf. added that the Iranians “performed very well”.

That “show” included a nightly update on the crisis, “America Takes Hostage,” which ABC News eventually turned into “Nightline.” The program has become a permanent fixture leveraging satellite technology and the interviewing skills of anchor employee Ted Koppel.

In addition to interviewing several Americans about their ordeal, “The Hostage” also pondered the failed promise of the revolution, which “became a monster” over time, according to the former official. Iran’s Mohsen Sazegara, turning the country into an international.

As several interviewees noted, what followed can still be seen and felt in U.S. politics and U.S. policies to this day, as well as recent protests in Iran. Nor should anyone lose sight of the participants that as with other major events of the 20th century, the opportunity to record these voices and secure their live accounts has dwindled over time. time.

For those paying attention to current events, one doesn’t have to go through the crisis to realize its lingering consequences, or how well the “Hostage” envelops them; However, the carefully curated piece, in some cases, never-before-seen clips will provide an overwhelming historical moment for anyone who did.

“Hostage” airs September 28 and 29 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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