The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 56 min
For the record, I have never watched any episode of the original TV show this film is based on. So I had no preconceived ideas, or a bar with which to measure the success or failure of Guy Ritchie’s efforts to adapt this content for a modern audience. I can only take the film at face value, and decide whether it works as the fun spy film the trailer promised.
Which it does, sort of. Set to a great soundtrack and score, this film moves at a cracking pace, and looks great proudly wearing its 60’s design theme. Infused with such bold style and color, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this decade’s fashions and design aesthetic make a come back. I think LG sell a smart phone these days with an available black leather case. So maybe this trend has already begun.
The problem with U.N.C.L.E. however, is that it doesn’t have a consistent rhythm, and every time this film settles into a nice cool finger snapping groove, it skips a beat and collapses. This can happen when Henry Cavill lays on his American accent too thickly, or when Armie Hammer completely forgets he’s supposed to be Russian. It also stumbles repeatedly during the second half of the film when the plot demands several mysterious twists, but then almost immediately spoils the magic by showing us how the plot trick was done, resulting in several scenes played out twice from different vantage points to show everyone’s reaction. And the twists weren’t all that interesting in the first place.
So I don’t know how faithful this adaptation is to the original series. But as a stand alone 60’s era spy story, I’d say it has plenty of style and energy, but two left feet.
This looks like an early Connery Bond film, made with better equipment, and without the 60’s era attitude towards women. The pace however, is typical Guy Ritchie. The movie is rated PG-13 for mild violence and brief nudity.
This is a great looking film, and is best served by a theater screen. This film will not do well on a portable sized screen.
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya (Armie Hammer) are separated during a high-speed boat chase. Leaving Illya in the boat being chased by gun-toting thugs, while Solo finds a truck (complete with a nice basket of food and drink) facing the dock, giving him a nice view of the action.