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Linden’s Cut: ‘Argylle’ review


“Argylle” is a movie I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. You have a very talented cast in this ranging from Henry Cavill to Bryce Dallas Howard to Samuel L. Jackson and even British singer-songwriter Dua Lipa.

However I was kind of skeptical going into it for 2 reasons. One reason is the screenwriter, Jason Fuchs (who is also one of the producers). Though I haven’t seen his previous works, they include “Ice Age: Continental Drift” “Pan” and “I Still See You” These weren’t well received by critics. Another concern I had was the budget, which is currently tagged at $200M. This is extremely expensive for a film that is based on an original story and not based on other movies or books. So I went in with some skepticisms, but I’m happy to say that it’s actually a fun time that was worth driving 3 hours to see.

“Argylle” is directed by Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class,” “Kingsman 1 and 2,” “The King’s Man”) and it follows an introverted author, Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is famous for writing a series of novels about a fictional secret agent named Argylle. But things start to get really complicated when she is thrust into a world where the events of her books begin to mirror those of reality.

What I enjoyed about the film is that it was surprisingly funny. Most of the humor comes from Aidan, played by Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), who is excellent in the role. During the fight sequences early on, Ellie envisions Aidan as the real Argylle, which is both hilarious and fun to watch. Also Ellie’s cat, Alfie, who has been the center of the posters and advertising for the film, is sure to bring in laughs from the audience.

Another thing that was surprising was the amount of twists. Without giving anything away, many of them are unexpected and I kept wanting to see where the movie would go next. Some of the twists don’t make sense at first, but later on it’s revealed what’s actually going on beneath the surface, which made the premise far more unpredictable.

The action sequences are really well choreographed and fit with Matthew Vaughn’s style. He is known for making over-the-top, highly stylized action sequences like those seen in the Kingsman films and “Kick-Ass” This streak continues in “Argylle” particularly in the sequence that involves oil skating during the climax.

There are some flashbacks used in the film and the way they are shown is really creative. For example they will be used in black and white with shades of color whether it’s gold, red, green, blue or some other color.

Bryce Dallas Howard was fine in the role of Ellie Conway, but it took me until about a third of the way into the film to really get into her character. During the introduction, Ellie wasn’t a very interesting character, but once that marker hits, she goes from not super interesting to I want to know what will happen next with her character.

However, even with its surprises there comes its fair share of flaws. For those who are fans of Dua Lipa or John Cena, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but they have a severe lack of screen time. They’re both in the film for maybe 10 minutes, which is a shame because they’re in all of the advertising and posters, and I really wanted to see what they would’ve contributed. The reason for their reduced roles could’ve been that they were both in “Barbie,” but the difference is in “Barbie” they had cameos where here they’re supposed to have supporting roles. Lipa and Cena have sixth and eighth billing on the cast list, respectively, so it would’ve been nice if they had more screen time because they could’ve been potential scene stealers.

For a film that cost $200M it looks good overall, but I kept wondering to myself, aside from the cast, “where did all the money go?” The film doesn’t even look like it would cost $150M. Usually if a film costs that much, it’s Marvel, DC, Star Wars or other big franchise films. This is a similar issue I had with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which also had the same budget. Unlike “Argylle,” “Flower Moon” takes place in 1920s Osage County and there was very little CGI involved in the film and the budget is one of the reasons it unfortunately bombed at the box office.

There are reports that “Argylle” is the first film in a planned trilogy, but with the budget being so high as well as mixed critical reviews, it could be unlikely that this will come to fruition. If the film does well financially and plans were to continue as a trilogy, I could only imagine where they could go next. Plus the film teases that there will be a sequel at the end.

Despite being a very well-paced film, it’s pretty long at 139 minutes and about 10 minutes could’ve been cut out of the film in order to further strengthen the runtime.

Overall, “Argylle” is a surprising film with multiple twists, good performances, and creative action sequences. Also, stick around for the mid-credits scene that is sure to get a reaction out of people. “Argylle” earns a B.

Commentary writer Linden Lansberry can be reached at [email protected].

If you would like to submit a reaction to a piece, Letter to the Editor or other submission, please send it to commentary editor Price Wilborn at [email protected] or [email protected].

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