Argylle opens with pop star Dual Lips, as master criminal Lagrange, first getting together with our titular hero, played by Henry Cavill – even though thefirst time I saw the trailer, I thought it was Michael Fassbender. Cue a bizarre OTT car chase, which leads to her coming face-to-face with the hero’s colleague, Wyatt (John Cena), but this turns out to be part of a story in the forthcoming novel from Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard).
After a Q&A in a bookstore, during which she tells fans that you must make time to write your stories if you want to be an author, she wants her new, and fifth, Argylle novel to end on a cliffhanger, but her mum, Ruth (Catherine O’Hara), thinks she’s lazy for doing so.
But… reality and fiction are about to collide when, on a train, she bumps into espionage expert Aidan Wilde (Sam Rockwell). Now, I’ll avoid spoilers and don’t want to give away anything that wasn’t shown in the trailer I saw, but when Wilde takes her away from the train to a cabin retreat, making her feel like her life’s about to change somewhat, it was soon after that I got a film I wasn’t expecting, with some incredibly dodgy CGI – certainly very poor for a $200m+ budget.
Safe to say that there’s a ‘Master File’ which everyone wants, plus a book of encrypted codes, all centering around something called ‘The Division’, who have piqued Aidan’s interest, and somehow, Elly’s novels predict the Divison’s movements.
However, it’s around halfway through when the film starts to fall apart. It’s like director Matthew Vaughn just took several lines of cocaine before switching the cameras on, and as if ‘screenwriter’ Jason Fuchs couldn’t give two of his own surname, and just fed the Kingsman scripts into ChatGPT and tell it to tweak them to include new characters.
As for her cat, Alfie – the real cat belonging to model Claudia Schiffer, who’s now married to Vaughn – he’s not in it as much as you’d expect, and spends most of his time stuck inside Elly’s backpack, since she regularly carries it around, because reasons.
There’s also a mid-credits scene, of which you can see details below, along with info about potential further films.
However, in its first weekend, the film took just $35m worldwide on its budget, and at around a week after release, that figure currently sits on $40.4m.
Now, when I came out of Argylle, I saw the above setup in the main part of the Odeon foyer (I didn’t notice it on the way in, as I’d gone from screen 5 to 7 – which are in two separate corridors, it wasn’t in my direct line of sight, and the film was about to start), assumed it was one of those “get your picture taken on something that looks like part of the set” that they sometimes have, but they said it was a VR game linked to the film.
Sadly, I was just about to go into another film (American Fiction), so I didn’t have time for this, and it was just turning 5pm, so they’d be gone by the time I left, and when I asked about the following weekend (which I knew was a stretch, as the film won’t be new by then), they are still doing it, but alas next weekend they’ll be at Kingston-Upon-Thames, I was told. Not sure if it’s both days, so check first if you’re going specifically, this coming weekend.
However, they said the game was called “I Expect You To Die“, or something like that, and if that is the one, then when I looked up online, I see it’s already a VR game, so I don’t know if they’ve tweaked Argylle into that, but if anyone’s going to that cinema next weekend, let me know if it’s any good.
So, bad timing for me, although I don’t always get the timings so tight inbetween films. That said, given that they weren’t exactly inundated with volunteers, maybe there’s a reason?
As an aside, there must’ve been around all of 30 people in the huge screen 7, so I expected this film’s going to flop hard, and so far I appear to be right.
Argylle is in cinemas now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. However, once announced, it will appear on the New DVD Blu-ray 3D and 4K releases UK list.
Running time: 139 minutes
Release date: February 2nd 2024
Studio: MGM / Orion Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
(ARRIRAW(4.5K), Anamorphic Panavision)
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Producers: Adam Bohling, Jason Fuchs, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay: Jason Fuchs
Music: Lorne Balfe
Elly Conway: Bryce Dallas Howard
Aidan Wilde: Sam Rockwell
Argylle: Henry Cavill
Ruth: Catherine O’Hara
Lagrange: Dua Lipa
Keira: Ariana DeBose
Director Fowler: Richard E Grant
Wyatt: John Cena
Moderator: Jason Fuchs
Carlos: Tomás Paredes
Alfie the Cat: Chip
Li Na: Jing Lusi
Handsome Man: Emmett J Scanlan
Alfie: Samuel L Jackson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.