Argylle Review

Thursday 1 February 2024

Plot: A reclusive author who writes espionage novels about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate realises the plot of the new book she's writing starts to mirror real-world events, in real time.

Film: Argylle

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jason Fuchs

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L Jackson, Bryan Cranstone, Catherine O'Hara

Argylle has truly divided the film community in a much more serious way than is warranted for a film that is intended as a fun popcorn-flick. From the director who brought us serious/unserious films like Kingsman and Kickass, I’d think that cinemagoers would know what they are about to watch when going to see a film advertised as an action comedy -especially after seeing Henry Cavil’s haircut.


While the film falls within the espionage genre, Vaughn delivers a romp filled with unexpected sweetness, his signature over the top choreographed fight scenes and enough twists and turns to leave you dizzy. 


Argylle’s convoluted origins, based on a fictional novel by the lead character Elly Conway (portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard), highlight the film’s deliberate dive into its own narrative complexities, while paying tribute to the classic spy film, which by todays standard are considered to be irrevocably cheesy and Elly Conway’s character of Agent Argylle (played by Henry Cavill) is taken straight from a vintage Bond film. 


intervention exposes the real-world implications of her fictional plots. It’s in their evolving relationship and the film’s emotional core that Argylle truly shines, with Howard and Rockwell displaying genuine chemistry and impeccable comedic timing.


Despite its rapid pace and dizzying revelations, Argylle occasionally falters, leaving viewers little time to digest the plot’s complexities. Additionally, Vaughn’s stylish direction occasionally gives way to overly artificial CGI, detracting from the film’s immersion. A final mid-credits twist may strain believability, and the ensemble cast, including Samuel L. Jackson and Bryan Cranston, at times feels under-utilised.


Yet, Argylle excels where it matters most. Its inventive action sequences, the dynamic performances of Howard and Rockwell and Vaughn’s usual unpredictability are what make this an enjoyable trip to the cinema.

Thankfully I’m not a cat person, the Kingsman films led to me getting my pug Eggsy and I couldn’t have Matthew Vaughn be responsible for me getting another pet.


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