Argylle surprised and amazed me from beginning to end. It’s a spy movie, for sure, and billed as an “action/thriller,” but it’s a spy movie the way Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is a rom-com. It turns everything on its head, and just when you think you’ve figured everything out, it flips all the tropes again.
That sounds like it could be annoying, but instead of bothering or frustrating you, it draws you in on multiple levels. And there’s a cat.
Spy vs Cat
First, we meet novelist Elly Conway. Well, we actually start the movie inside her head. Conway, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World Dominion), writes espionage novels. Like many writers, she feels more at home and at ease with her computer and her cat, named Alfie, than she does with the public.
We see Elly at a book signing. She has many fans, and her life looks bound for success. One problem: her fiction somehow portrays a real-life international espionage syndicate. Her work begins to predict its future actions. This attracts the syndicate’s attention and the intervention of a spy named Aiden, played by Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Jo Jo Rabbit, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), who has a cat allergy.
Spy vs All-Stars
As Elly’s quiet life explodes she heads out into the world with her cat in her backpack (a.k.a. cat-pack). As her life spins into a strange new reality, we encounter characters played by the most amazing cast I ever recall seeing. To top it off, without giving too much away, they nearly all have two or more personas.
The cast includes Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) who plays Elly’s favorite spy named Argylle. I’ve heard people making fun of Cavill’s hairstyle in the film. Pay close attention during the film and you’ll get the joke.
Others include Dua Lipa (Barbie), John Cena (Fast X), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Byran Cranston (Breaking Bad), Oscar winner Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), and Emmy winner Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek).
Of the supporting cast, I found Cranston’s and O’Hara’s performances the most entertaining. Their roles required them to show off their ability to stretch a character and be subtle about what they reveal, ane they succeeded.
Samuel L. Jackson manages at times to be scary, then lovable.
Spy vs Disco
What may have attracted such an amazing cast was the far-out nature of the story and its unique approach to experiencing reality. Several times I thought the story was about over. Then a new twist happened. I thought I knew where the story was going then, but again, I was surprised.
Just to make it a little stranger, almost every fight scene is accompanied by rockin’ music. Dancing also plays a crucial role in certain relationships.
Don’t let all these unusual aspects discourage you from seeing this film. It’s an amazing movie experience. Think of it as James Bond meets Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.
I recommend not going to social media about the film until after you’ve seen it, so nothing gets spoiled. The film will be in theaters only, beginning February 2.