Movie Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

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Based on the 1960s television series of the same name, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a 2015 spy/action/comedy(ish) film directed by Guy Ritchie. The film stars Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, a thief-turned-CIA-agent and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, an agent of the KGB, who are forced to work together to thwart a pair of Nazi-sympathisers from creating nuclear weapons. Alicia Vikander also joins the cast as German mechanic Gaby Teller, daughter of a Nazi-turned-American-ally.

+ Henry Cavill is just so charming he even makes being tortured sound somewhat appealing. This film is almost his James Bond audition reel. Armie Hammer has the more physical role, but damn if he doesn’t do it well. The two have such good chemsitry you honestly feel like they are trying to one up each other throughout the whole movie
+ Vikander, too, is superb as either the damsel in distress or the smarmy tomboy, whichever the situation called for
+ both villains, Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani as Victoria and Alexander Vinciguerra, respectively, are a pleasure to hate. They pull off their evil but sophisticated personas very convincingly
+ I really enjoyed the soundtrack, all in various languages and genres, both the score and songs
+ there is some really fancy camera work, often segmenting the screen to show various simultaneous events. One shot in particular has these then seamlessly blend together as if it was only ever one shot

– the plot is admittedly rather simplistic, perhaps a given considering it’s source material. The middle third in particular slumps a little bit, and I found it difficult to focus on the very dialogue heavy exposition scenes (particularly when the film switched from subtitles to spoken Englsih a few times per scene)

Should you see this film: Despite all the positive points above, there was nothing to really set this out from any other spy/action film of previous years. The very un-violent action makes it more of a James Bond-lite than I think it wanted to be. Maybe a single viewing just for the chemistry between Cavill and Hammer, but otherwise give this a miss.

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