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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Twin Takes: Argylle–Our Opinions Are Highly Classified (And Very Positive)

Reed (left) and Griffin (right) Larson-Erf. Photos by themselves.

Reed: So, we watched that new comedy spy film, Argylle. I thought it was a masterfully-shot, well-acted, thrilling, hilarious work of cinema–which, of course, Griffin is just waiting to ruin for me. Alright, Griff, just get it over with…

Griffin: I can’t believe it…I have no objections to this film!

Reed: …wait, what? But that’s impossible! You think everything we watch is terrible! People read this column to see us argue about movies!

Griffin: I’m as shocked as you are–but there it is: I watched this whole film start to end, and nothing got majorly in the way of my enjoying it! 

Reed: Well, first things first–let’s give some context. Argylle concerns the popular spy novelist Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), famous for the creation of the cheesy spy thriller series Argylle and its titular protagonist. Ellie is hard at work on the concluding novel of the series, but there’s just one problem–she can’t figure out how to end it! 

Griffin: En route by train to see her mom (Catherine O’Hara) and workshop the ending with her, Ellie’s peaceful train ride is quickly impeded by the obnoxious Aiden (Sam Rockwell)…who turns out to be a very real spy.

Reed: As Aiden explains, the events of the Argylle series are happening in real life, with the fictional criminal Directorate mirrored by an agency called the Division. As Ellie’s life begins to turn into one of her spy novels, she–assisted by visions of her character Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill)–must collaborate with Aiden to uncover the truth and destroy the Division.

Griffin: And every part of it is fantastic! For one thing, I’ve never seen a hero like Ellie before. On the one hand, her intelligence is unbridled: she drops espionage-related fun facts left and right. On the other hand, she also gets anxiety–but that fact only strengthens her as a character, providing a believable and modern weakness that, nevertheless, does not interrupt the plot. As a person, she feels like a human being, not a contrivance, and that boosts the movie. For instance, she isn’t comfortable with Aiden trying to make a dance out of crushing enemies’ skulls. 

Reed: For my part, I like how so many men in the story empower and encourage Ellie! Aiden teaches her spy skills and believes she is “not half bad” as a spy; her hallucinatory Argylle offers encouragement, as does Aiden’s secret boss. This is quite firmly Ellie’s story.

Griffin: But the story still abounds with quirky people: Aiden, for instance, is an action hero in the body of an unhygienic middle-aged man. Meanwhile, spymaster Alfie is a shadowy genius…with a soft spot for basketball. And then there’s Elly’s mom, played by Catherine O’Hara, who provides the same bursts of sass that made her loveable as Moira on Schitt’s Creek. These three, and more, take us through a plot that has more twists than the road Dua Lipa motorcycles down at the beginning. 

Reed: And the soundtrack! From disco to amp up a fight scene, to gorgeous slow music to create dramatic effect during a firefight with bad guys, Argylle always has the right score for the job. Then there’s the faultless cinematography–events from the Argylle books are narrated during the movie, with the film transitioning seamlessly from the real world to the novels. Early on, in a touch I really appreciated, Ellie is trying to write a scene in her next novel; the film shows the scene playing out with Argylle (the character), who voices Ellie’s thoughts as she struggles with her prose.

Griffin: And there are just so many wonderful scenes! The back-and-forth brawl between Aiden and the other passengers on Elly’s train (almost all of whom turn out to be assassins)…my personal favorite, the heart-swelling dance/shootout between both Elly and Aiden and agents of the Division, complete with loving gazes and canisters of colorful gas…and did I mention the point where Elly turns into a full-blown whirling dervish when she blasts it out with a crowd of assassins, while ice skating, using knives strapped to her boots, in a–

Reed: Griffin! Spoilers!

Griffin: Oh, pardon me. But I can’t help it–for the first time in the history of this column, I’ve witnessed a movie that is sheerly fantastic!

Reed: That sounds like a pre-sum-up sentence if ever I’ve heard one. Care to do the honors, G?

Griffin: You bet your classified documents I am! Argylle: go see it, in all its thrilling, heart-warming, laugh-grabbing, fresh-take-on-a-heroine magnificence!

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About the Contributors
Griffin Larson-Erf
Griffin Larson-Erf, Reporter
Griffin Larson-Erf is a junior at Niles North High School. When not writing for North Star News, he can be found reading, writing fiction, and being confused for his twin brother.
Reed Larson-Erf
Reed Larson-Erf, Reporter
Reed Larson-Erf is a Junior at Niles North, joining North Star News for the first time this year. He enjoys reading, writing, watching Doctor Who and Arnold Schwartzenegger movies, and any chance he gets to make his friends laugh.

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