Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman, David C. Wilson
Stars: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander Elizabeth Debicki
Guy Ritchie, a director known for his flashy, violent and entertaining movies returns to resurrect a previously beloved 60's T.V show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. revolves around an agent, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), who belongs to the C.I.A. and is instructed alongside Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), a K.G.B. agent, to take down an criminal organisation of which are hell bent on advancing nuclear weapons and winning the arms race.
Guy Ritchie is without a doubt one of the most talented British directors alive today. With his loud style and witty writing, he always provides an entertaining movie of a high quality. This however, may be a slip up in Guy Ritchies filmography.
As far as writing goes, there really is no surprise when it comes to spy movies. One of the reasons why I loved Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) was that it had a similar plot (an evil genius plots to destroy the world and a secret service plans to stop them), but it was so different when carrying it out through the narrative, script, characters and action. And I thought that I was going to come out of theatre with that same feeling from this film, but unfortunately that was not the case. Plot wise, it's the same kind of scenario with a period spy drama, nuclear tech has made its way into the hands of a mass criminal organisation and they vow to take over or destroy the world. The script alongside the plot did run dry too often, and with a plot that is that generic your script is a huge factor that could redeem the movie and save it from going of the rails. The dialogue whilst at times was entertaining and had that Guy Ritchie flare and humour about it, the script took so long to take the movie onto a different level. One of the key things in a script and writing in general, is three acts, and it was as if the movie skipped the first act and headed straight into the second, and never really elevated onto act three (the climax), which by the way was all too short. Pointless dialogue scenes really halted the movie and kept it in that aforementioned second act, too many times I felt bored stiff as I was just waiting and waiting for it to take off.
Whilst the writing was a huge let down, the visuals were a redeeming quality of the film. Extremely stylish cinematography was very satisfying to see. Although there were far too many jump cuts and shaky cam during the combat scenes, the camera work during the opening sequence and in dialogue scenes were excellent. Vivid colours that shone off the costumes and cars really created an incredible stylish vibe and look to film, especially with the lead villain Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki), who wore bright colourful make up and glistening jewellery that was complemented beautifully with lighting and the right camera angles.
The costume design was second to none. No doubt the outfits that were shown in the movie will make their way to some high street fashion stores or at least inspire a new trend in 60's clothing. The two lead female characters, Gaby and Victoria wore excellent clothes, each costume connoting their personality and behaviour, and ones that looked incredible when saturated in the sunlight.
Henry Cavill was extremely entertaining to see on screen, and to see him develop a bit of emotion that differs from his stiff acting as Superman. He was charismatic, charming, swarve and funny, although I felt like his russian counterpart (Armie Hammer) was the lead role in the film. Armie Hammer, love him or hate him, I felt he was good in this movie. His Russian accent was rusty in some places, but nonetheless he was brilliant when playing this egotistical proud Russian, who's character would be tested by the mischievous Gaby (Alicia Vikander) which was so entertaining to watch. Alicia Vikander, is without a doubt a brilliant talent, she was remarkable as Ava in Ex Machina (2015) and she was the same in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I have no doubt that after her breakthrough role in Ex Machina (2015), this will be the first of many roles in huge movies that will no doubt catch the Academies eye. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will be a favourite among the females, as the lead villain adds to the brilliant female performances. I've never seen Elizabeth Debicki in anything other than The Great Gatsby (2013), but I thought she was brilliant as the lead villain. She was clever, spiteful and seductive, everything that a female spy villain should be.
The music was also a prominent role in the movie. Songs of the time period helped establish the slick tone that the movie was trying to convey. But one thought couldn't help but cross my mind. Upon watching this movie and studying its style and charismatic atmosphere, I couldn't help but wish that the project was picked up by the great Quentin Tarantino. And heres why, we all know that Tarantino has an excellent choice in music, he has a masterful eye for costume design, his dialogue is never dull and is always incredibly cool and his eye for brilliant characters never fails him. I just think the writing of this movie really fell short, and thats one of the areas where Tarantino excels, alongside costumes, music, characters and style. I just would have loved to have seen Tarantino's take on a movie around this time period.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was incredibly stylish, sexy and swarve with brilliant characters and acting, but incredibly boring in places and the action really didn't impress me as much as I thought it would, which may be a factor of poor camera work. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may be one of the Guy Ritchie's bad days at the office, but that doesn't entirely mean it was terrible.