Guy Richie’s big screen adaptation of the 60s spy show has been in development for over 20 years, with everyone from George Clooney to Quentin Tarantino linked with the project. The film will be released on August 14 under the banner of Geo Films. Set in 1963, before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is peppered with style cues like classic sports cars and stylish wardrobe, not to mention a fantastic soundtrack packed with original compositions and period pieces from artists such as Roberta Flack and Solomon Burke.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E is ripe for a sequel – here’s hoping the director’s happiness lasts long enough to afford us one. Richie concentrates so hard on a nailing a suave, sixties aesthetic that he forgets that other essential spy movie ingredient: tension.
Henry Cavill stars in the newest action-comedy, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie who co-wrote the screenplay with Lionel Wigram. It’s well paced, well acted, interesting and has the “Guy Ritchie Reveal” that all his films have.
“U.N.C.L.E.” opens with a chase scene, complete with stunts and gunfire but it doesn’t have the spark we associate with Ritchie’s work. Ritchie’s direction is witty and bright as he playfully dances between spoof and seriousness. Do the film’s visuals irk or seduce? Cavill, Hammer and Vikander give very fun performances clearly inspired by the acting styles of the 60’s, and at no one point does one steal the show away from the other.
If the latter, “U.N.C.L.E.” doesn’t hit the target as often as Kuryakin, but it doesn’t miss as bad as the evil henchmen do, either. Solo is forced to team up with KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) as the US and USSR combine to take on a mysterious worldwide criminal group that’s building its own nuclear bomb. They both of them seem to mesh well together, much like Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill on 21 Jump Street. The troisième of their ménage is the adorable Alicia Vikander, a rising Swedish star whose work in A Royal Affair and Ex Machina proves she is far more than an extremely pretty face. Vikander delivers a goofy charm to the role that prevents the character from becoming the stereotypical Bond girl of the 60s. This is where the film introduces a more traditional female role for this genre, the obligatory femme fatale. Debicki somehow found a groovy balance between being humorous and being menacing.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E is a well made, visually entertaining film that is well worth the watch on the big screen, but its the characters that are the real boon of the film.
“My first job in 1984 was a tea boy for Island Records, and it was always a toss-up whether I was going into the film game or into the world of music, and I’m still having that wrestling match, so I’ve got the best of both worlds in a sense”, he explained.