Did you come up with an idea? Be careful not to get into trouble! Elly (Bryce Dallas Howard) lived the routine of a single cat addict addicted to writing bestsellers, until fiction fell out of the pages of her spy novels and collided with reality. However, instead of ending up in the broad arms of her fantasized agent Argylle (Henry Cavill), our writer finds a savior who is careless and a liar. Agent Aidan (Sam Rockwell) is far from Bond, but he quickly eliminates the thugs of the secret organization trying to kidnap her. What does it turn out to be? Elly’s writerly intuition became a source of concern for the intelligence services. Our damsel in distress finds herself in the middle of a spy plot.
A comedy play? Everything pointed to this. A high budget, a laid-back cast in the background (Catherine O’Hara , Bryan Cranston), catchy background cameos (Dua Lipa, Sofia Boutella, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson), the creator of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” behind the camera and inventive marketing with a fictional novel filling real bookstore shelves, it’s an intriguing set-up. At its starting point, “Argylle” makes fun of the Flemings, Ludlums and Bond-like film adaptations. As a consciously exaggerated parody, it makes fun of the flashy dialogues, cardboard characters and formulaic intrigues of threepenny novels. Over time, Jason Fuchs script also turns out to be a praise of literary creation, a game of interpenetrating imaginary worlds, and a healthy joke about writers delusions and creative blocks. Matthew Vaughn’s film, as befits a story about a best-selling pop culture, also teases the fanbase with its expectations and desire to get inside the head of its favorite writer. You must admit that this topic is quite extensive. But so what? What remains is a button with a loop.
It’s hard to blame Vaughn for remaining himself, which is why we like him. The cartoonish violence typical of his filmography (this time with the PG-13 rating), grotesque explosions, a weakness for slow motion and an excess of digital effects, as well as a dancing camera and similarly dynamic fight choreography, however, gave better results. Kinetic tricks don’t have the freshness they used to have. The kitsch of Vaughn’s operatic aesthetics is tiring for the first time, and the scenes that are supposed to culminate in ecstasy tend to evoke chills of embarrassment.
This time, Vaughn’s puppy sensibility highlights the chaos of the script. The concept of fiction penetrating reality, which I praised above, ultimately becomes sterile. The genre rules, which first became the object of sarcastic commentary, promising quite silly entertainment in “Argylle“, quickly penetrate the “non-fiction” world, but there is no intention or consequence in it. The characters, who are knocked around, beaten, have similarly blurred motivations the villain is wooden and stereotypical, the most interesting male character finally bows to the romantic stereotype, and the main character, who dabbles in words, ironically does not get a single memorable dialogue.
The ubiquitous lack of seriousness could still work as part of a nice lesson on getting out of the comfort zone, for which our emancipating quiet mouse will be rewarded with a burst of heart. However, no one here focuses on the message. Instead, the creators’ attention is occupied by plot twists upon plot twists. Their uninterrupted series invalidates the already poor character design, as a result of which the heroine resembles a puppet in the service of a screenwriter delighted with subsequent twists. The more twists there are, the more indifferent the stakes of events become and the emotions fade. In the finale you can feel emotionally drained, which I see a certain irony in again. After all, writer Elly has trouble writing the last chapter. Has fiction seeped into reality again?
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