“Argylle” features action, humor and more

Published 1:03 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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This week at the Tryon Theatre we have “Argylle,” taking to the screen with spectacle and laughs aplenty! This film is a cinematic breather from the more serious and complex oscar contenders we’ve carried of late, providing an entertaining, and unchallenging action romp.  

The film’s director, Matthew Vaughn, is best known for his “Kingsmen” film franchise, another modern high octane spy send up. Vaughn is an expert at bringing a comic book-esque sensibility to a film’s action and humor, without overly sacrificing plot or characters. 

Speaking of characters, this film features a large ensemble cast, but is anchored by the central performances of Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell, with Howard playing the lead, Ellie Conway. Conway is a novelist, having successfully published a series of spy stories, all centered around a master-spy protagonist, Argylle. Unbeknownst to Conway, there are eerily similar analogs to her stories occupying the very real world of international espionage. Her seemingly prescient imagination for plots and characters soon finds her pulled into a conspiracy against her will by a fast talking operative, Aiden (Rockwell). 

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As the plot twists and turns from that inception, with increasingly imaginative action sequences and stunts, the film takes shape in the mode of entertainment it provides. “Argylle” is not a film that will challenge any artistic sensibilities, nor will it break any new ground stylistically or thematically. However, none of that diminishes the value of this film. 

“Argylle” is an exciting and enjoyable ride, providing the guaranteed entertainment of fast action and fast jokes, with just enough complexity of conspiracy to provide a frame for all the fun. 

In terms of tone and expected content, “Argylle” seats itself on the self aware end of the spy film spectrum, sharing more in common with pre-Brosnan era of Bond films than the self-serious films of the last two decades. This film is admittedly violent, and frequently so at that, but the fighting and action is hyper stylized in such a capacity that any shock from it is greatly diminished in contrast to the entertainment it provides. 

This film is also very comedic, aiming to provide laughs in equal measure as thrills. The dialogue is tight and snappy, with quips and one liners flying as frequently as the bullets. However, it is important to note that “Argylle,” in its winking self awareness, is not a children’s film, per se. Adults and teenagers alike will have an appropriate literacy of the spy genre to appreciate the ways in which said genre is comedically skewered, and lovingly interpreted, throughout the film. Much of the foundation for the film’s comedy may otherwise be lost on viewers below a certain age of genre exposure. That being said, the frequency of escapist action, and a recurring cute cat, may be more than enough to keep any audience entertained! 

For any filmgoer in need of a cinematic holiday, we encourage you to take a chance on this globe trotting adventure. Hopefully, “Argylle” will provide all the uncomplicated thrills and laughs that one needs!