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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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CineHawk review: ‘Argylle’


Written by Jason Fuchs and directed by Matthew Vaughn, “Argylle” is an irreverent parody of the spy genre about a mild-mannered author dragged into the bizarre and dangerous world of espionage when her fictional novels start to mirror real-life events. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston and Henry Cavill. Apple Original Films produced “Argylle,” and it is currently playing exclusively in theaters.

The story revolves around Elly Conway, played by Howard, an introverted and anxious author who achieved great success with her popular “Argylle” book series, which follows the adventures of fictional super-spy Aubrey Argylle, played by Cavill. Elly’s normal life is obliterated, however, when a real spy, played by Rockwell, saves her from an army of assassins. What follows is an unpredictable series of twists and turns that challenge everything Elly thought she knew about the world and herself.

Vaughn’s experience with directing both “X-Men: First Class” and the “Kingsman” series serves him well in “Argylle.” The film is filled with excellent action choreography that mixes kinetic violence with farcical comedy. Special mention goes to the film’s colorful climax, which regardless of whether it causes viewers to cheer or groan, is undeniably unique and memorable.

However, the strength of Vaughn’s direction cannot mask the shortcomings of the screenplay. On the one hand, those expecting a predictable studio tentpole will be pleasantly surprised by how many surprises Fuchs crams into the second half of the movie. On the other hand, the rapid-fire parade of plot swerves gradually yields diminishing returns as it becomes clear they exist solely for shock value and franchise building rather than meaningful narrative construction.

“Argylle” has a star-studded cast, and to their credit, most seem to be having a lot of fun. Howard’s Elly is somewhat subdued in the beginning but becomes far more dynamic and expressive, serving as a useful contrast to Rockwell’s more experienced and nonchalant Aidan Wilde. Cranston is appropriately intimidating as Director Ritter while also rounding out the character with some dark comedy.

Though his role is much smaller than the trailers suggested, Cavill’s Agent Argylle is an adequate approximation of the sort of romanticized spy hero that the film is lampooning.

Even if it is far from perfect, “Argylle” is still a blast, with charming characters, creative action and wild twists.

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