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The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

Argylle Review: A Mix of Cliches and Fun

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Julian Ortiz

From director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jason Fuchs comes an entertaining spy film accompanied by an all-star cast. “Argylle” is a mixed bag of unique ideas and tired spy tropes. At its best, the film is charming and has a few good laughs, but at its worst, it is overly convoluted and a bit too silly for its own good. The cast is chock-full of recognizable faces that carry the film to the finish line no matter howover-involved the plot gets. If you haven’t gone out to see it yet, I would wait for “Argylle” to come to streaming and then give it a watch.

Back of the DVD Summary: Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a popular author who has an uncanny ability to predict real world political events. As she is trying to wrap up her fifth and final book, undercover Spy Aiden (Sam Rockwell), saves her life on a train. Secret, covert forces conspire to capture Elly and force her to write the next chapter to see what will happen next. Throughout the story expect plenty of twists, turns and shocking (or not shocking) revelations.

As mentioned earlier, “Argylle” is a mixed bag, but let’s start with the pros.
There were two unique action set pieces that were dripping with fun and energy. One involved ice skates, oil and knives — the fight was a literal dance of death. The other, a technicolor dream of bullets and dance set to a song that didn’t match the actions, but matched the feeling of the scene. Overall, the main characters were immensely likable and their way of riffing and interacting with each other felt real. Rockwell and Howard turned in engaging performances, especially Howard who, given the twist, had to take an unexpected turn in her performance.
The story was told distinctly, vacillating between reality and the books Elly wrote; Henry Cavil as Argylle was the conduit between reality and fiction. The choice on the filmmaker’s part helped create a viewing experience that wasn’t generic. Some of the cuts and transitions were eccentric, making the visual language of the film more distinctive in some areas, specifically when Elly would faint and then awake in a new setting. Small decisions like those, while not the biggest deals, were nice additions to the film.
Maybe if the film hadn’t overstayed its welcome, there would be more positives, however, the film was a little long and could’ve shaved off an hour or so easily. There were one too many plot twists for my taste, they started to veer into ludicrous territory, making it difficult to suspend my disbelief.
Also, the plot could have been easier to follow at times, surrendering its logic to moments that just seem to happen for little reason other than the writers wanted it to happen. Moreover, the special effects and green screen were clearly fake. At its worst, it took me out of the film, and at best was passable. I wasn’t exactly sure what the motivations were of the main antagonists other than to retrieve the “Silver Bullet” which contained all of their wrong-doings. It was not explained why they were so afraid of that information getting out. Simultaneously, it was not clear exactly why the heroes were so adamant about stopping the villains other than they were the good guys and of course, that’s what they’re going to do. I would encourage again, to not go out and see this on the big screen, but rather wait to see it at home. That would come with the benefit of rewinding and subtitles.

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About the Contributor
Julian Ortiz, Staff Writer
Julian Ortiz is a staff writer with a particular focus on writing movie reviews. He is a JAMS major, creative writing minor. Coming out of Keizer Oregon, Julian loves to write, and to create. In his free-time he enjoys watching video essays on Youtube, going to the movies, writing, and talking way too much about storytelling.

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