The Man from U.N.C.L.E, directed by Guy Ritchie is a fun and wonderfully stylish flick. A film that borrows its aesthetic from a spy genre long past, and is ultimately an exciting success at what it tries to be.
The plot of this spy romp sees CIA Agent Napoleon Solo, played by Henry Cavill, having to team up with KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin, played by Armie Hammer, and attempt to save the world from nuclear destruction. The key to doing this is by protecting/utilising Gabby Teller, played by Alicia Vikander, whose father is the one helping the nefarious organisation build the device that will wipe out millions of lives. These three unlikely allies have to put aside their differences and work together for not only their own respective countries, but all others as well.
What was certainly one of the one most enjoyable parts of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the visual delight that almost every scene holds. From the moment the film begins there is a clear visual tone that takes over but what’s great about it is that it evolves as the film progresses. There are quick, slick cuts, there are scenes that lap in on one another and then there are ones that are timed with the action and the music. There is so much visual enjoyment to be had in this film.
It doesn’t just end at the technical aspect when the film is considered though. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a film that oh so perfectly captures the visual aesthetic of films from a time long past. The outfits, the locations, the setting that certain scenes take place. This is a film that plays so well with a genre that we don’t get to experience as much anymore. Director Guy Ritchie and his team bring a level of visual fidelity and make it one of the most fun parts of the film, its ear to ear smiles the whole time.
Filling those scenes is a cast of really fun characters, played by some really well chosen actors. Each of the actors in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, nail their roles. Henry Cavill is on point as Napoleon Solo and his suave spy antics. Coupling him with the very opposite of characters, Illya Kuryakin simply makes for some very funny and diverse moments. Both of these actors/characters play so well in the film. Seeing two spies who would rather be anywhere else and with anyone else and then for them both to have to work together in some dangerous situations is what makes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. such a joyous experience.
Connecting the two is Alicia Vikander’ character Gabby Teller. Her character is really well placed in the film. Instead of her not playing the stereotypical role in the film, she is instead being very much her own person and seemingly relishing in being more of a trouble maker for the two spies and less a damsel in distress. This means that once again the fun is inserted into the scenes. Watching the three bicker and verbally battle one another is, while also trying to foil a nuclear attack is uniquely enjoyable.
What The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is missing though, and it is something that too many films have been mussing this year, is a suitable villain. Elizabeth Debicki plays Victoria Vinciguerra in the film and is supposedly said villain. The problem is the film spends almost no time at all with her. We get paper thin development and her motivation is never really clear, nor interesting. Instead we get very few scenes of some hammed up bad person antics that in the end don’t really lead to a suitable enough pay off. Once again another film that sorely disappoints in the compelling villain aspect.
The plot for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a little wonky. Compared to the visual feast that the film offers and the stimulating characters, the plot of the film is a little sparse. Villainous group are building a nuclear bomb, you have to stop them, that’s pretty much it. Thankfully the film balances out its weak story by adding all the other accoutrements that I’ve previously spoken about.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is now the third spy film I’ve seen this year, the other two being ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ (my review of that here) and ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (the review for that one here). After seeing all these films I can confidently say that The Man from U.N.C.L.E is the superior of the three. Not only is it the only one I enjoyed but what it has to offer over the other two makes it the only one worth your time and money.
So with that being said I will absolutely be recommending The Man from U.N.C.L.E. There is so much joy to be gained from watching this film; the sleek looking scenes, the great characters, a soundtrack of songs that I now need on my iPod. This is an all-round treat of a film to watch.
What did you think of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Let me know in the comments down below. Want to keep up with my ramblings? Follow me in Twitter, @GavinsTurtle