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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mooty


Can be a lot of fun but plot twist after plot twist turns this into a convoluted mess

Argylle is the world’s top super-spy on a mission to retrieve a master key from an evil organisation known as the Division that has terrible plans in store. Argylle is also a work of fiction, the creation of reclusive novelist Elly Conway who is writing the fifth book in her popular spy series. But when her plot starts predicting the future, she is recruited by real spies to write the next chapter and prevent the worst from happening.

Matthew Vaughn is a unique director and has brought us some of the most enjoyable spy/action-comedy/superhero films of the past two decades. His flair for over-the-top action and witty banter is evident here, Sam Rockwell always being switched on as this movie’s main spy, delivering fun fight scenes and funny one-liners with glee. His performance elevates the film above its dodgy CGI and wasted cast of A-listers: Bryce Dallas Howard is unremarkable in the role of the fish-out-of-water writer, and if this was Henry Cavill’s one shot at showing his chops as Bond, he was truly wasted.

Argylle has a somewhat unique concept (films like The Lost City and Stranger Than Fiction aside) but tries to be cleverer than it is. When it is a balls-to-the-wall, insane action-extravaganza, all with Vaughn’s stylish flair, it can be a lot of fun, but plot twist after plot twist turn this into a convoluted mess. This is supposedly the first step in a new franchise, but given where things end up by the end, let us pray that this is a one-and-done.

Argylle is nowhere near Vaughn’s strongest work and plans for a franchise do not bode well. There are some entertaining scenes but its hook of a spy novelist going on a real-life spy adventure is more intriguing than the film itself and this is not a story that we need to see more of.

Rating: 4/10

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