Movie Reviews: 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E'

The Man From U.N.C.L.E (REVIEW)

By Aric Sweeny

Set during the Cold War, a strange criminal organization plans to use nuclear weapons with intentions of  disrupting the already unstable relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union. CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) must set aside their differences and take on the organization, or face a possible nuclear war between the two nations. 

This film captured the 1960’s tone extremely well. For the entire 116 minute runtime, the audience truly feels that they are watching something made in that era; a feat that most film and television properties can’t seem to do properly. The opening scene, in particular, requires a legitimate effort to remember that it was filmed in 2015, rather than 1960. The way Guy Ritchie grasped the vibe of that era is incredible. 

Cavill and Hammer are a perfect pair. The quick banter and genuine chemistry make for entertaining scenes that are solely made up of dialogue between the two. Previously, I was skeptical on Cavill’s acting ability, but U.N.C.L.E sold me. With this movie under his belt, there is a case to be made as to why he should replace Daniel Craig as our next James Bond. Hammer’s russian accent bothered me at first, but the annoyance seemed to fizzle out by the second act. All other accents seemed authentic, while his immediately felt forced. 

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is an extremely unique piece of cinema. While maintaining a lighthearted and comedic tone, it also subtly introduces more intense themes and ideas. The action set pieces, while great, are a step back from the over the top, aggressive action sequences in blockbusters like “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation,” or “Mad Max: Fury Road”. While somewhat refreshing, they also appear as quite underwhelming. 

The relationship development between the main characters is what makes this film stand out in the Spy/Thriller genre. The interactions never felt forced, despite the fact that the script was just average. 

Alicia Vikander gave a standout performance as Gaby Teller, the third lead role. Throughout the film, Teller and Kuryakin develop a relationship that was unexpected, yet worked perfectly; This is the only recurring romantic relationship.

The movie’s score fits perfectly with the 1960’s vibe, and furthers the audience’s cinematic vacation to that time in history. 

Overall, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” is an exceptionally well made spy thriller with good enough character relationships to make up for the lack of over-the-top action moments and average script.