“Argylle”: the all-you-can-eat buffet spy film

“Argylle”: the all-you-can-eat buffet spy film


“Pop” would be the word that best describes the cinema of Matthew Vaughn, creator of playful and garish blockbusters, such as his Kingsman trilogy (2015, 2017, 2021), a noisy homage to British pop culture. The successful franchise set the tone for a style woven with collusion with its viewer, an overdose of twists and turns and giant tables of well-known actors.

It is almost these same ingredients that we find in his new opus, Argylle , adaptation of the spy thriller of the same name (Lattès edition, 2024) by the British novelist Elly Conway, who, in the guise of the Actress Bryce Dallas Howard happens to be the heroine of the film: bestselling author of spy novels, Conway lives a peaceful existence with her cat, and devotes herself entirely to writing.

But one evening, while she is finalizing her latest manuscript, she runs out of fuel. The novelist cannot find the conclusion to the last volume of Argylle , named after a dark secret agent whose adventures materialize on the screen. Out of desperation, she decides to visit her most loyal reader, who is none other than her mother. On the train, Ellie finds herself sitting opposite one of her readers who will end up saving her life when killers hunt the kind novelist.

Past life memories

Because what Elly doesn’t know is that she suffers from amnesia and has completely forgotten her previous life, where she had a brilliant career as a secret agent. Her savior, who is none other than her former right-hand man (Sam Rockwell), is responsible for reminding her: in her novels, Ellie does not invent anything, but puts down on paper the memories of her previous life.

This sluggish set-up, riddled with inconsistencies, sets the tone for the grueling two hours that follow: Vaughn seems not to conceive of fiction other than as a large amusement park where backfiring twists and turns and poorly executed metanarratives follow one another at an exhausting pace. damn and ugly action scenes.

The staging consists of putting it everywhere as much as relying on the lowest meaning of what entertainment is, namely a large all-you-can-eat buffet where the aim is to incubate the spectator and him give what he came for (a cute cat, a little empowerment , hits, etc.), for fear that when he leaves, he will give the performance a bad rating. So many contortions which very poorly hide the panicked fear of one thing which is nevertheless the only thing we will remember from his cinema: boredom.

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