Matthew Vaughn made his name directing action films like Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and the Kingsman movies (as well as being Mr. Claudia Schiffer and the #1 suspect in the case of January Jones’s anonymous baby daddy). His latest film is Argylle, which has a “life imitates art” concept that reeks strongly of Romancing the Stone. Bryce Dallas Howard stars as a novelist who finds her real life hewing too closely to her fictional espionage agent’s hijinks. Sam Rockwell plays a real spy, Henry Cavill plays the fake one, and there’s a cat. I am, obviously, here for the cat.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Vaughn revealed that he fired the acting cat and borrowed his daughter’s real cat, Chip, to star in the movie. Obviously, the cat is CG in some scenes, which is, frankly, one of the best uses of computer effects these days. There is no reason to harm animals for entertainment when they can be created down to the minutest photorealistic detail by computers. But it’s sort of cute that Chip gets to star in his granddad’s movie, and that by the end of production, Vaughn, a self-confessed dog person, learned to love Chip. That’s how cats work. You think you don’t like them, and then a cat comes along and breaks down your walls.
As for Argylle, sure, it looks fun. Henry Cavill is one of those people, like Clive Owen before him, who likely missed his window to play James Bond and we’ll always kind of “what if” it, but here he gets to play a fun version of that character archetype. And Dua Lipa starring as a Bond-esque femme fatale is great casting. I sort of wish Vaughn wouldn’t move his cameras around so much during action sequences, they’re usually so well-choreographed but he’s always cutting and speed ramping and deploying a bunch of gimmicks he doesn’t actually need, but Sam Rockwell is always so fun when he gets to play a wildcard. I can put up with quick cuts for Sam Rockwell kicking ass. Bonus points for a great use of Elvis in the trailer, too.
I’m also down for BDH playing a flustered nerd on an unexpectedly dangerous yet romantic adventure—I feel like this is what they were trying to do in the Jurassic World movies with her character, but Colin Trevorrow botched it so badly out of the gate they could never recover, no matter how hard BDH tried with her performance. So, yes, let her have a grand time playing a writer in over her head and maybe falling for the spy sent to save her. Justice for BDH. And Chip The Cat. And cats everywhere, in general.