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Argylle | Review

A Roller Coaster of a Film

By Willow Daymond


Image: UPI media

Argylle is a fun-filled, twisty film. It follows an author named Elly Conway, who writes a series of spy thrillers which follow her character Argylle. In an unexpected turn the events, the real-life spy world starts to mirror the events in her books, and Elly is targeted by spies to get answers from her. I wouldn’t say it's a cinematic masterpiece or particularly high-brow, but it is the perfect film if you are looking for something light-hearted.  I managed to catch this film in the cinema, and I am certainly glad I did, as the actors lean into its silliness, both acknowledging it and keeping the audience on their toes with twists that embrace its ridiculousness.  

The tie-in book Argylle was released before the film’s premiere, with the author publishing under the pseudonym Elly Conway, which is the main character’s name in the film. While I will say I have not read the connected book, the movie has made me interested in reading it now, as I am quite curious about how the novel tells this story.  

Upon finishing the film, I did have hopes for the sequel, as I knew it had been planned. Unfortunately, due to the critics' reviews, it seems like the sequel’s future is still up in the air. I must say, however, that one of the most ridiculous moments in the film was (and, if you’ve seen it, you’ll already know what I’m about to say) is the ice skating scene. Without giving too much away, in this scene Elly and her new spy accomplice Aidan are backed into a corner by a group of ‘evil’ spies. Heavily outnumbered, they must use their wits to fight their way out and survive. This scene is not a typical fight, however, as Conway uses her figure skating skills in combat. She creates the ‘ice rink’ out of oil and stabs knives into her shoes to create ‘skates’. With a layer of dramatic music placed on top, it does create a very ridiculous scene. 

Image: UPI media

There were some good scenes in the movie, with one of the best near the start, when Elly and Aidan first meet on the train. In this scene, a fight starts between Aidan and the other opposing spies. We see the fight scene through Elly’s eyes, but her mind plays tricks on her. Aidan changes every few moments from himself into her character Argylle. These constant changes make for a very fun fight scene that is quite different from other spy films.

The cat that appears throughout the film is Alfie, a Scottish fold who is taken through all of Elly’s adventures, often in her very recognisable yellow backpack. I do think that we  the audience mirror Alfie a lot through the story, simply being carried along through the narrative and having to go with the flow between all the intense twists thrown at us. In the scene where Alfie is thrown off a building, I think his almost cartoon-shocked face mimicked not only my own face but the faces of the other audience members. I was most surprised that Alfie managed to survive the entire film. That cat didn’t have just nine lives, but probably more like twenty.   

Image: UPI media

Luckily, the film is aware of how over the top it is and never takes itself too seriously. This certainly goes in the film's favour. Overall, it is a fun-filled spy film which is nice for a light-hearted watch.  


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