I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
This is interesting. For the second time in two weeks I’m reviewing a spy movie based on a TV show from the 60s.
This film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, tells the story of a C.I.A Agent and a K.G.B Agent, played by Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer respectively, who must reluctantly team up at the height of the cold war to stop someone turning up the war’s heat.
Guy Ritchie directed this movie. This accounts for the stylish way in which it portrays Europe in the 60s and for the often superb handling of the action which often combines drama, suspense and comedy.
In this regard, U.N.C.L.E is very similar to Ritchie’s recent and, in my opinion, underrated Sherlock Holmes movies.
Those movies also counted on a double-act, in the form of Holmes and Watson. Here, the double act of Cavill and Hammer is pretty convincing. There are a good number of quips between the two of them that are very satisfying.
The writing is often good at bringing out this chemistry. What it is not good at is bringing this chemistry in the third major character of the group.
This third is an East German lady who of course forms some kind of sexual tension in the trio. There’s another female character who is also needlessly sexualised. While this can be seen as a throwback to the gratuitously sexification of women in the spy genre, it’s done with no knowing wink to the audience and often makes me scratch my head and/or yawn. The good thing is, it’s nowhere near as bad as Jupiter Ascending.
Another issue I have with the film is an aspect of Ritchie’s directing inherited from Sherlock Holmes, wherein the film backtracks a little bit to explain something clever a character did before the audience’s eyes. For example someone might sneakily steal a wallet and when he/she explains what they did, we see the moment they stole it from a different angle. Sometimes this works, like in the case I just stated. However, sometimes it feels like the film thinks the audiences are simple.
So did I hate this movie? No. The two leads, some of the comedic writing, the action and the editing was entertaining enough.
One thing it did capture well was the tension between the two sides of the cold war, without overly explaining what it was all for.
I can’t compare 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E to its 60s original, but I feel like the typically American, British Henry Cavill and the decidedly Russian, American Armie Hammer give some retro charm under the wing of the British Guy Ritchie.
Recommended Scenario: When you want a light version of Inglorious Basterds set a couple decades later than that film.
If what I have written tells you that you would like this film, you can book tickets to see it at your local Cineworld here.