Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E is directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. This films is the adaptation of a classic 60's TV show of the same name. I really was looking forward to see this film because Guy Ritchie has a very unique style that can make a very conventional movie, unconventional. The film is pretty simple: it's a fun spy movie that archens back to the old cold war spy movie, it's very silly, it's a great throwback to the 1960' spy movie that don't take themselves too seriously. It is a tribute to such late 60's movies as The Thomas Crown Affair or The Italian Job. However, sometimes the movie tries too hard to make its way for modern audience while being a 1960's throwback, it targets an audience who is too young to remember or even know the classic spy show that inspired it. Though, it goes from fun spy film to serious drama where Armie Hammer's character has those bounces of incredible anger.   

The early 60's styles are chic, the European locations are elegant and the music is fantastic. In fact this film is filled with seductive settings and an equally attractive cast. Characters are portrayed in an entertaining way. The core of the movie being the relationship between Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. There's a terrific opening action sequence that really set the tone and both of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer characters. It shows their chemistry. This chase scene provides a colourful means for the two committed spies to introduce themselves to another. They work very well with one another and on top of all they are funny together. Armie Hammer is pretty good in the movie but he's not a major breakthrough. If you liked him before you are going to like him now. If you did not, you will probably like him a little bit more now. Plus, Henry Cavill is very energetic, even though he comes across more British than American in his tailored-suit appearance and Cary Grant behaviour - at least until Hugh Grant surfaces late in the film. I completely understand at this point why many people saw him as James Bond. We all love him, this guy is Superman. Last but not least, the villain barely get a word in and seems too abstract to be a real threat.

Moreover, you have heard and seen this cold war spy plot a billion times before. Some scenes reminded me of Ocean 11, when a guy comes after something happened and he's like "That's not how it happened, let me revert back a few minutes" and a flashback starts and you are like " Oh, it's clever". Even during rapidly edited chase sequences, there's a clear visual logic at work. The film is as fetishistically detail oriented as many Wes Anderson's movie are; and yet Guy Ritchie engineers the experience to privilege characters and action over their environments. Finally, the battle of brains, energy, cars and wit is entirely delightful and if the rest of the film had been on that level, this film would become a classic of the genre. 

Overall, by the end of the film Guy Ritchie and his cast have established a funny, bright world that feels quite unlike any other gritty, handled spy franchise.

No comments:

Post a Comment