Saturday , 13 April 2024

Argylle film review: Dua Lipa stars in ‘shoddy’ and ‘derivative’ Bond pastiche By Nicholas Barber Matthew Vaughn

The director known for his Kingsman films, has once again delved into the world of James Bond pastiches with his latest film, Argylle. Starring Dua Lipa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Sam Rockwell, the film has been described as “shoddy” and “derivative” by critics. Vaughn’s previous films, including Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and The King’s Man, have all paid homage to the iconic 007 franchise. However, Argylle takes it a step further by presenting a James Bond pastiche within a James Bond pastiche. The film opens with a sequence featuring Henry Cavill as Agent Argylle, who meets a seductive femme fatale played by Dua Lipa in an exclusive club on a Greek island. The scene quickly escalates into a machine-gun shoot-out, a rooftop car chase, and high-tech surveillance, all centered around a mysterious “master file” that could expose a crime syndicate. However, it is soon revealed that these Bond-esque adventures are actually part of the imagination of a shy author named Elly, played by Bryce Dallas Howard.
Elly has written a successful series of spy novels, complete with merchandise, but has yet to see her work adapted for film or TV. The sequence shown at the beginning of the film is the finale she envisions for her latest book. The plot takes a twist when Elly is saved from assassins by a stranger named Aidan, played by Sam Rockwell. Aidan embodies the characteristics of the secret agent Elly has been writing about, and he informs her that her books have an uncanny ability to predict real-world criminal activities. Together, they embark on a mission to find a “master file” that could bring down a powerful crime organization. Critics have not been kind to Argylle, describing it as a collection of silly clichés and unconvincing visual effects. The film’s attempt to be intentionally shoddy and derivative falls flat, with wooden acting from Lipa and a lack of contrast between the fantasy spy world and the film’s reality. The screenplay by Jason Fuchs is criticized for its lazy dialogue and plot holes. Despite its flaws, Argylle does showcase some of Vaughn’s trademarks, such as acrobatic fight scenes set to upbeat pop songs and references to his supermodel wife, Claudia Schiffer. The film also prominently features the Beatles song “Now and Then,” which, in the world of the film, has been out for several years.
However, the use of the song has been met with criticism, as it feels sacrilegious to some that the greatest pop group in history would license their music to a mediocre spy film. In conclusion, Argylle is a disappointing addition to Matthew Vaughn’s repertoire of Bond pastiches. The film’s fake-looking effects, ludicrous plot, and unbelievable characters make it difficult to forgive its shoddy and derivative nature. With rumors of another Argylle film and two more Kingsman films in the works, it seems that Vaughn’s obsession with Bond pastiches shows no signs of stopping.

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