“Argylle” Review: Reality and Fiction Intersect in Matthew Vaughn’s Latest Spy Thriller

“The greater the spy, the bigger the lie”

 


 

Argylle,” starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, and Henry Cavill is now open in theaters nationwide.

From the mind of Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn, is a thrilling, globe-trotting spy adventure where the border between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Elly Conway
Bryce Dallas Howard as Elly Conway

Argylle” promises over-the-top action sequences reminiscent of the Kingsman franchise and a dynamic duo whose chemistry brings to mind Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz from “Knight and Day”—and on the backdrop of a book-comes-to-life-esque narrative.

Where writers hold power over the stories we create, we see the world of “Argylle”—in its unhinged and off-the-rails form—through the eyes of Dallas Howard’s Elly Conway.

“Argylle”

Alfie is played by Chip, the real-life cat of supermodel Claudia Vaughn
Alfie is played by Chip, the real-life cat of supermodel Claudia Vaughn

The film follows Elly Conway (Dallas Howard), an acclaimed author of “Argylle,” a series of renowned, best-selling espionage novels. Contrary to the action-packed adventures she pens unrelentlessly, her life remains undeniably mundane—where her idea of bliss is a night at home with her computer and her cat, Alfie. 

“But when the plots of Elly’s fictional books—which center on secret agent Argylle and his mission to unravel a global spy syndicate—begin to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, quiet evenings at home become a thing of the past.”

Elly and Alfie
Elly and Alfie

As if a writer on a spur-of-the-moment storytelling spree, “Argylle” is at its best when it completely allows reality and fantasy to converge—with action scenes reflecting two sides of the same coin—what is happening inside the character’s heads and what is actually happening

The resemblance with the Kingsman franchise is uncanny—especially a particular sequence that is reminiscent of the “heads explode around the world” scene from “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

Ups and downs and extraordinary twists

Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell
Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell

Plot twists, plot twists, and plot twists—that’s how “Argylle” is best described. While utterly charming and endeaingly ridiculous, and on theme with the style the film is going for, these unexpected turns were at times unnecessary. Points of the film were particularly dragging and removing some of these “shock value” scenes could have saved the movie a couple of minutes of runtime—the film is two (2) hours and 19 minutes long by the way.

Star-studded and for what?

Dua Lipa in “Argylle”
Dua Lipa in “Argylle”

“Argylle” boasts a star-studded cast, and that’s on top of the likes of Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, and John Cena. However, of the nine (9) “main characters” featured to spearhead the film, only four (4) were prominent in it—the rest, barely showed up on screen and hardly matter in the plot. 

Not that it was disappointing as Dallas Howard and Rockwell had great performances—but with how it was marketed—it was a realistic expectation to want to see more of these stars.

Dua Lipa and John Cena
Dua Lipa and John Cena

The cast of “Argylle” includes, Ariana DeBose, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Sofia Boutella, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is directed and produced by Matthew Vaughn, from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs. 

Watch the trailer below.

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