Argylle – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Argylle – The Spy and the Novelist: A Twist of Mediocrity

Film is a medium that bleeds with intrigue and delight.  From the endeavors of an adventure to the personal touch of the heart, you hope that the escape becomes a worthy tale.  In this review, I look at the latest Matthew Vaughn film.  A director known for his spastic appeal; he leads us through a twisting adventure of espionage.  Even with a visionary at the helm, Argylle becomes another gimmicky spy tale with a splash of wet ink.

In a story of unfortunate events and unlikely reveals, Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) must survive the world of espionage or fall victim to her own stories.  Matthew Vaughn (director) is known for tales filled with colorful characters and interesting journeys.  Within many previous films (Layer Cake, Stardust, X men: First Class), you are drawn by this blend through the escape.  With this latest entry, he builds this journey through his own aesthetical approach, showcasing Elly’s vision of the ‘spy world’ through a recounting of her latest published work.  From here, we move through a series of moments that build up the character and her struggles of finishing the series with the 6th novel.  This leads through scenes of cheesy dialogue, unexpected visual hijinks and red herrings that put Elly in the crosshairs of real-life spies.  This leads to the introduction of Aiden Wilde (Sam Rockwell) and Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston), two spies that are trying to save (Aiden) or abduct (Ritter) her for the sole purpose of having her finish the book.  This leads into a second act that builds a journey full of spy cliches, bombastic action and predictable scenarios masked as shocking reveals.  Through it all, what keeps the momentum from slipping off a cliff is the character dynamic between Elly and Aiden.  For all the twisted gimmicks to come about, it is their odd like relationship that grips us to convenient storytelling.  As Elly and Aiden make their way through the ironic web within a linear journey, it is these two characters that provide a wholesome appeal to the ongoing question … how will she finish her novel? 

As Elly and Aiden try to survive Director Ritter’s onslaught, they must figure out the reason behind the chase.  With each scene of espionage and cliché twists, it is complimented by the visual aesthetic of Elly’s own purview.  Through her eyes, you see a mimicry of circumstance that layers within the writer’s perspective.  As connections are made, it is the aftermath that props up the journey to feel intuitive, even if logically incorrect.  As everything comes to a head for Elly, Aiden, and Director Ritter, we head into a third act that turns up to absurd heights of action, suspense, and spy like twist.  Within the convoluted nature of the journey, we do end with a whimsical climax and epilogue.  Argylle is a mix bag of clichés and character intrigue.  If you are a fan of spy/espionage, or Vaughn films I say there is fun to be had.  There is big screen appeal here, but at the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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