- Sofia Boutella, Henry Cavill, Catherine O' Hara, Sam Rockwell
- Written by
- Jason Fuchs
- Directed by
- Matthew Vaughn
- Run Time
- 2h 15min
- Release Date
- February 2nd, 2024
I am sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I love a good spy movie. My love for all things spies runs deep, so much so that I even loved playing the game Spy Hunter (cue the theme music in your head). With that said, Argylle would totally be my jam. Now, I will say I do prefer my spies a little shaken and not stirred, but Matthew Vaughn knows a thing about this game, as the mind behind the popular Kingsman series of films. Now he brings that style to another story of espionage, this one is done by the book, or in this case, by a certain book.
It seems Argylle is not just a type of sock but also the name of a spy in a popular series of novels. The author is named Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), and she has created quite the popular character. After a signing for book number 4, Elly returns home to put the finishing touches on book 5. However, after some critique from her mother Ruth (Catherine O’Hara), Elly tries to churn out the one more chapter her mother thinks the book needs. Thinking she should return home for inspiration, Elly boards a train and starts to head home. But on the train, she has an encounter that is about to inject some excitement into her life. On the train, she meets Aidan (Sam Rockwell), who says he is a fan but also warns that things are about to get a little sticky. It turns out Aidan is a real-life spy, and he is not the only one who wants to meet Elly really bad. It turns out that Elly is sort of a fortune teller, and things in her book have actually happened. Now people are after her to write the next chapter, and only Aidan can keep her safe from her own story.
Written by Jason Fuchs, Argylle starts with a clever concept, one where a spy novel might be dictating the real spy world. However, all the good momentum the film had pretty much goes out the door about an hour in. While the story has good bones, other things get in the way, which for me starts with embracing Argylle’s stylistic side more than trying to add context. That is especially clear in the action scenes with its wobbly camera all set to a pop song, which doesn’t really move the needle as much as it did when Vaughn did it ten years ago.
I didn’t really know what to expect with Argylle, but I really dug what Matthew Vaughn had done with Kingsman in 2014. Watching the decline in that series with each additional movie should have provided the clue where Argylle would end up; I guess I just had more hope. What we get is a movie that has no narrative flow and a director who wastes too much time coming up with outrageous escape plans, making me want to escape the theater while watching it. When Vaughn is not busy filling the screen with nonsense, he is dragging out a story and conclusion that makes you feel every stretched out minute of Argylle’s nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes runtime. The only thing that saves the film is the performance by Rockwell, who once again proves he can almost save any movie from disaster by just being in it. I might have liked to have seen this script in the hands of a director who hadn’t lost self-control already, but that is not what we got. Instead, we get a lot of mixed up scenes that are not really fun, as Vaughn will have you begging for mercy by the time this one is over.