Argylle: a film that blurs and then crosses the line between parody and farce

From parody to insanity, Argyle delivers fun and cringe to make for an exciting three quarters but frustrating finish.

A star-studded cast hit mediocre reviews, before entering the cinema, Argylle was hard to pin down and even a day after watching I am struggling to decide my overall thoughts on it.

Reviews are split – IMDb gives it a 6/10 overall, and Rotten Tomatoes has a 33 per cent Tomatometer but the critic’s view and the audience’s view differ by 39 per cent.

The premise of the film sounds simple; a spy author writes about a secret agent and an evil global spy group realizes the plot of the new book she’s writing begins to mirror real-world events, in real-time.

But the plot has so many twists and turns explaining the film is impossible in a blurb.

Here goes – here are my thoughts but be warned, there are spoilers ahead.

The film opens with exciting action with the huge names of Henry Cavill (and his terrible hair), John Cena and Dua Lipa.

The effects don’t look great but it is entertaining and can be looked past as it mocks conventional spy films.

There seems to have been an over-emphasis on some of the celebrity names for marketing as Cena, Cavill and Samuel L Jackson, to name a few, make more of a cameo appearance rather than being truly involved.

Admittedly the first hour and 35 minutes are rather good – it is fun, entertaining and silly and a great parody of classic spy films with fun twists.

Then comes the ending.

Argylle is revealed to be the writer who forgot her previous life as a secret agent who is actually called R Kylle and is just remembering her old life through her books and both her parents work for the evil spy agency.

R Kylle is a hugely cringe reveal and when hearing this it did get an eye roll.

The film flips from fun to stupid focusing on the spectacle of the film as it turns to farce.

At first, I tried to concentrate but there are so many twists trying to piece the story together can become a frivolous exercise – the film ends with a hugely colourful dancing killing spree, ice skating on crude oil and a music box ballerina exhibiting mind control – inexplicable.

It felt at points there were many points this film could have, and maybe should have, ended as it dragged on to the total two hours and 19 minute mark.

I came out feeling confused about the ending and it put a slightly sour note on a largely enjoyable film.

The last part of the film really loses the tone the rest of the film set up yet, I knew I was entertained for a large part of the story so it was a strange balance.

That is what makes this film hard to define – the ending is so outrageous and farcical that if you don’t laugh you may just cringe and be frustrated, which may explain some of the more negative reviews.

If you are able to suspend your disbelief for a long time, not take the film seriously at all and appreciate it’s fun then you will enjoy it.

It is not a masterpiece, not by a long shot, yet I did have a good time despite my confusion at first of what I felt about the outlandish ending – which was a bit too farcical to me and did drag.

Finally, the cat is unnecessary – it would be a better film without it and its prominence in the movie poster is overkill for the small yet stupid role Alfie plays.

Overall it is fine and it’s fun – 6/10.

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