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ARGYLLE (2024)

Release Date: 02/02/24 [Cinemas]
Genre: Action. Thriller.

Studio: Universal Pictures.

"A reclusive author who write espionage novels about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate realizes the plot of the new book she's writing starts to mirror real-world events, in real time." 


Who's the real Agent Argylle? This question lies at the core of the film's marketing campaign, with Universal intentionally enveloping it in mystery. The campaign has successfully elevated the film's tagline to an almost meme-like status on social media. I must admit, I was eager to see the film myself due to the Taylor Swift theory surrounding the authorship of the debut novel on which the film is based. However, the true twist of the film is that there's almost no twist at all.


Argylle is incredibly predictable, embracing clichés at every turn. It leans heavily into these tropes, almost poking fun at the spy genre it parodies. For those anticipating a low-stakes and shallow film, Argylle hits all the necessary notes. However, if you're expecting a truly game-changing, genre-defying piece of cinema, be prepared to leave more than disappointed.


In July 2021, Universal Studios announced the production of the film adaptation for the yet-to-be-released novel, Argylle. The novel's author, making a debut under the pen name Elly Conway, added an intriguing layer of speculation. Questions arose about how a multi-million dollar franchise could be launched by an anonymous author with no prior publications.


Following the release of the film's initial trailer, it became apparent that the author was woven into the storyline, creating a meta-commentary on the mysterious nature of the project. The focus shifts to Elly's adventure as she seemingly predicts a real spy mission unfolding in the world. This unassuming author finds herself caught in a whirlwind as she embarks on a mission mirroring those she had written about in her novels.


After watching the film, any lingering mystery dissipated, and I was prepared to embark on this enjoyable adventure with the characters. As someone who typically gravitates towards mysteries and thrillers for their unpredictability, this offered a refreshing twist by allowing me to follow the characters throughout the entire film and anticipate the unfolding events from the beginning. The film fully embraces this predictability, engaging with the audience as the story unfolds.


While this approach may be creatively frustrating for some and might disappoint those expecting a novel and thrilling spy experience akin to Bond, the overall narrative appears rather shallow and lighthearted. However, what resonated with me was that it never aimed to take itself too seriously from the outset, making my enjoyment of the film considerably more seamless.


I acknowledge that this film style may not resonate with everyone, and many moviegoers might find themselves frustrated with its sheer simplicity. For fans of spy thrillers, the element of shocking surprises and revelations throughout the storyline is often a key attraction. In the case of this film, while the narrative is rich with reveals, none proved truly startling to me as a viewer. The story relies heavily on some of the most familiar clichés imaginable within the spy genre, almost reading like a novice's initial attempt at crafting a spy film by trying to incorporate every major twist ever done before. Surprisingly, rather than feeling bloated, the film's inclusion of these clichés enhanced the overall fun of the experience, embracing the shallowness that surrounds the narrative.


Not introducing anything groundbreaking or revolutionary, Argylle is just an enjoyable movie to spend two hours at the cinema during the cold, final winter months. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face if you're not overly concerned with surprises or predictability. For those seeking mystery, rest assured that all your questions are bound to be answered by the end of its runtime.

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