2015 is well and truly the year of spy movies. Now entering the double digits, we’ve had em’ all: Bond, Mission Impossible, Spooks, Kingsman (and so-on). And now, forty-eight years after the TV series finished, we have The Man From U.N.C.L.E returning to screens!
Directed by Guy Ritchie (who was born the same time the series ended), the film follows the same premise; a 1960’s backdrop, where Napoleon Solo, a top-CIA agent teams up with Illya Kuraykin, a Russian KGB equivalent in order to top world-war Armageddon.
Essentially it is the Cold-War, but as if seen from an imaginative school-child’s POV. But that doesn’t mean to say that it is not enjoyable... It’s bloody fantastic!
Throughout, it is a mishape of 60’s ‘cloak and dagger’ espionage. Literally boys-with-toys in a constant competition. Who is better, USA or Russia? Truthfully, it is irrelevant… the British actors play Americans, Americans play Russians, and a Swed’ plays a German. Everyone plays everyone.
The espionage narrative is wonderful. But what is the film actually like? Picture this; Henry Cavill (Superman) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) as bulked-up naughty children, who on an international playground must investigate Nazi’s scientists, sneak around and blend it with all. All whilst trying to get one-up on each other. One-liners, witty dialogue, strange accents and jazzy tunes litter throughout. It feels like a Bond film, but balanced on parody not so serious grounds.
Visually, U.N.C.L.E is too very dark, cinematography seems fluent with the mixture of settings (most of the film is set interior, with few awe-inspiring locations long shots). It’s only set in the two locations of Berlin and Rome, but it certainly make use of them and show the beauty.
The only thing that lets the film down is its weightability. Will it be remembered in several years? Will it be as good on a second watch? Probably not. But don’t let that stop you watching and being entertained at least once. It’s one hell of a ride.