Title – The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)
Director – Guy Ritchie (Snatch)
Cast – Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant
Plot – In the heat of the 1960’s Cold War battle, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) must team up to stop some baddies selling nuclear bombs. Complicating the pairs uneasy pairing is the addition of beautiful yet dangerous Gaby (Vikander).
“For a special agent, you’re not having a very special day, are you?”
Review by Eddie on 19/08/2015
With more style than a Kardashian’s wardrobe and with a trio of unnaturally attractive leads, Guy Ritchie’s modern take on the moderately successful 1960’s TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E is certainly a film that’s easy to look at and has a breezy carefree nature but it’s also a film that stays so incredibly close to playing it safe that for a director known for his energy and non-conforming style, it remains a curiously questionable adventure that when judged on Box Office numbers, not many people were calling out for.
From my understanding a passion project for Ritchie who has a great fondness for the original property, UNCLE is a film driven by Ritchie but it’s destination isn’t what we’ve come to expect from the man that gave us the one two punch of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch and found success with his modern take on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Uncle lacks the action and more dark nature of many of Ritchie’s greatest successes and there’s an overhanging cloud that follows the films runtime that can’t be shaken, a cloud of misjudged scenarios that promise much yet deliver only in parts.
It may seem twee or even wrong to suggest that UNCLE is boring but in the modern day and age of movie making you can’t help but escape the fact that UNCLE could’ve benefited greatly from more exciting set pieces. There are small glimpses of this, an opening car chase and a snappily edited later car chase and a scene where Henry Cavill’s Solo has an impromptu picnic in a military truck is quite witty, but for much of UNCLE’s runtime you’ll be wondering where the real excitement is going to come from as its most surely not coming from it’s two dull male leads.
Much has been made of the questions being asked of both Henry Cavill (after Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (after The Lone Ranger) and their abilities as leading man and UNCLE will do nothing but strengthen the argument against them. Delivering potentially ripe dialogue with an ever dry dullness and seemingly incapable of more than a handful of looks, Cavill and in particular Hammer (with bad Russian accent in full effect) bring UNCLE down where it could’ve made inroads and the films acting trope is saved by yet another impressive turn from Alicia Vikander as the mysterious Gaby.
With a plot line almost to lame to bare and with a two pronged attack of boorish male leads, UNCLE is quite lucky that it doesn’t fail more harshly than it does which is thanks to a clear love from director Ritchie and the increasingly likeable Vikander. With signposted intentions of this film being the cornerstone of a new series, on the basis of this entry I think we’ve officially seen the last of UNCLE team despite a small sprinkling of life that can be found in the film’s most efficient scenes.
2 ½ perfectly packed picnic baskets out of 5
P.S – A big heartfelt shoutout to Andrea, the Manager of the Kaikoura Mayfair Theatre who made my trip to their lovely venue such a memorable one.