Release Date: August 14, 2015
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman, David C. Wilson
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris, Christian Berkel, Misha Kuznetsov, Guy Williams, Marianna Di Martino, Julian Michael Deuster, Andrea Cagliesi, Riccardo Calvanese, Peter Stark, David Menkin, Pablo Scola, Cesare Taurasi
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 116 minutes
Production Company: Davis Entertainment, Warner Bros.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Based off the television series from the 1960’s, director Guy Ritchie (Revolver, Sherlock Holmes) took a chance at adapting ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ for the big screen today. The show was before my time, so there were no expectations to be met. If the television show was as great as the film, it’s a shame it only lasted four seasons. While having no interest initially, leaving the theater I was overjoyed, loving the film. With his unique style, Guy Ritchie delivered a spectacle of great storytelling and humor, with a great cast that brought it to life and beyond. The chemistry on screen is remarkable, and the plot feeds you goodness until the very end.
The driving force behind a good film is often rewarded to the characters. Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya (Armie Hammer) took center screen an immediately demanded your attention. At first glance, I worried Henry Cavill would come off as another Superman in a suit, but he embraced his character full on. Confidence was his middle name and he proclaimed it high and proud. Even in the most severe circumstances he kept his cool and demeanor in check. It’s as if he already lived the moment knowing the outcome, and went back to simply reminisce. Illya’s portrayal was even more powerful, and the Russian accent Armie Hammer brought fourth was fierce to say the least. I was afraid of his character in the beginning because he seemed as if he could only be defeated by an army. The appearance of these two early on made it easy to soak everything in. They’re polar opposites, but have the same ambitions which makes for great banter between the two on screen. It was fun to see them work together, yet compete with each other for the same goal. Their petty differences kept the film afloat if it even thought of sinking slightly. I’m impressed to say the least, and their skills deserves note.
Not having seen all his films, Guy Ritchie still stands out from the rest. His camera work in the latest Sherlock Holmes films have an interesting brand of their own. It’s nice to see that same energy being used with Man from U.N.C.L.E. Not even close to the biggest stunts in other movies, his formula still tells you to get ready and witness something you’ve never seen. His editing style caters to panels from a graphic novel, and are able to fit so much in a condensed amount of time. It still leaves an impact as it serves the story leaving more room for other developments. It’s an interesting technique that hides right in front of you, only to deliver a satisfying surprise later down the line.
Besides the style and characters the thing that tied it all together was the comedy. Cavill and Hammer’s presence on screen together tickled you throughout. They constantly were at each other’s throats and nearly impossible not to laugh. One is always trying to one up the other, and it led them to the most random but funny situations. It’s a pleasant surprise changing the flavor slightly to a genre we’re already familiar with, comedy. James Bond has been around for ages, so it’s nice to see a different take on the spy world of things. Taking elements from Mission Impossible, the Bourne series, and other spy nostalgia but adding this amount of comedy was a breath of fresh air. It’s a different take on what we know and I welcome it nearly to the upmost degree.
No one wants a story they can predict before viewing, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E keeps you guessing. There’s no The Sixth Sense level reveal towards the end, whether it was the story, the action, or secret identity waiting to pop up; you are at least intrigued. With the story lasting a full length feature length, it’s still episodic which is a plus. It closes out, but you’ll still wanting more. That just goes to show the great job that was done.
While I did enjoy most of the film there was still pieces missing. Earlier while I praise how funny the movie is at times it came off as too comedic. High respect goes to those that can keep their cool in apparent danger, but at times I wanted them to take it a little more seriously. To be specific I don’t think it’s wise to be eating a turkey sandwich while you’re literally watching you’re unarmed partner be on the run from multiple machine gun fire. This didn’t happen too often, but enough to scratch my head. Also, the beginning and end are the acts that stand out the most, while the second took a dip under water. The first act introduced the audience to this world delivering the tone, strong characters, and great action. The third had a great conclusion, making you want more and more. The second act took it’s time with fancy spy gadgets, quick hands, and humor. The humor, however saturated everything else and did pop at the screen like the rest of the film.
Though those are only small complaints they may be easily swept under the rug. Guy Ritchie still gave us a worthy film that definitely deserves ranks as a respectable spy film. I won’t say it’s at the top, but does deserve attention. There’s a great story, strong characters, recognizable faces, and humor to bring it all together. It’s the perfect movie to give all audiences a little taste of what they go to the movies for in the first place to be highly entertained.