Review | The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
The way Guy Ritchie gives life to stories on the big screen is quite far from being common… One just needs to see how he adapted Sherlock Holmes to check the style and irreverence that are without any doubt his strongest characteristics. His new project, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, based on a 60’s espionage TV-show, is quite far from being brilliant but it still manages to deliver a good dose of entertainment filled with action and style. In this story that portraits the unusual union of the United States and the Soviet Union secret services after the ending of WWII, we are invited to travel back in time for a stylish adventure that captures the exuberance of the 60’s with a slight touch of modern days. Even though the best thing about The Man from U.N.C.L.E is its visual details, the cast is filled with sounding names such as Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina) and the british Hugh Grant.
At the height of the Cold War, a mysterious criminal organization plans to use nuclear weapons and technology to upset the fragile balance of power between the United States and Soviet Union. CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to put aside their hostilities and work together to stop the evildoers in their tracks. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a missing German scientist, whom they must find soon to prevent a global catastrophe. [Plot Summary: Google]
Focused on the espionage world and on the unconventional team of two agents that belonged to different sides, the highlights of this story are mostly their origins and the subplots that develop between them and Gaby (Alicia Vikander), the girl they’re trying to protect. The struggle for global domination between the two most powerful nations in the world is threatened by a seductive villain, introduced as basically the ultimate evil genius but that unfortunately never sees her time to shine. And it’s precisely because of flaws like these that Richie’s latest movie doesn’t work that amazingly well… Even with a terrific beginning, the story loses its strength with a villain that never impresses that much, which ended up looking like there was not enough time to explore the character. The tension in the movie only reveals itself when Napoelon sees himself threatened by Victoria’s tyranny, but most of that intensity is caused by a crazy man who enjoys inflicting pain in people. In a story about spies, the lack of intensity and tension ended up messing the entire movie. However, I have to highlight the chemistry between Cavill and Hammer, that by playing ‘opposite’ agents on the same team made this experience a lot fun and contagious.
On the main cast, there is almost nothing negative to talk about, with captivating characters that ended up reinforcing the story’s potential. In this aspect, Cavill and Alicia Vikander were the biggest surprises. But, as I’ve stated early in the begging, the strongest point of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. lies on its visual aspects and on the great style Richie gave to the movie: an appealing and captivating mixture of modern aspects with an atmosphere that brought me to the 60s. It’s a stylish movie that pleases mostly for its great action sequences and for the way these are shown on the screen, complemented by a terrific soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is introduced as a captivating movie filled with great moments that are distributed over almost two hours of action, style and sensuality in an attempt to revitalize the genre. Even with some notable flaws and with an irregular pace, this classy espionage place is highly entertaining. A movie that fits perfectly in the ‘cool’ category, with amazing tracks that complement this story told in a captivating and stylish way. In the end, it’s impossible to remain indifferent to its charm and to the entertainment it provides to its viewers.