2015 is shaping up to be a year of movie throwbacks and films that feel as though they've come straight out a previous decade. And I'm not just talking about sequels, either. Sure, we've got Terminator, Jurassic World, Star Wars and many others, but we're also getting new, original content that feels so refreshing, despite being something that would've felt so familiar a few decades ago. We've got Kingsman: The Secret Service, It Follows (which my review for is still coming. I promise it'll be up eventually), Spy and again, plenty of others. I don't know about you guys, but I sure am loving it. Except for Spy. I hated Spy. What do you mean everybody else loved that movie? SHUT UP, DUDE!
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is based on the 60s TV show of the same name and it follows the story of an American secret agent, Solo (Henry Cavill) and a KGB operative, Illya (Armie Hammer). The former enemies are forced to work together to take down a chain of criminals in Rome who are working on a nuclear weapon, granting them a significant amount of power that will affect both Russia and the United States. They must put aside their differences to take these former Nazi's down, along with a little help from Gaby (Alicia Vikander), who'll work as an entry point into the organisation. It's just a whole lot of fun, really.
From the stylised mind of Guy Ritchie, The Man From U.N.C.L.E is a brisk, fun and fast paced adventure that rarely fails to entertain. Cutting in at just under two hours, this film doesn't mess about, telling its story in exactly the right amount of time. There's no dawdling to be found here. What's necessary to the plot stays, nearly everything else goes, and the result is one hell of a good time at the movies. Because of its fast pace, the film relentlessly moves forward, never stopping long enough to take you out of the moment. You're always in it, invested in the film at hand.
Guy Ritchie directs the film with class and style. It's eccentric, it's over the top and it's everything a film like this should be. Ritchie is fully aware of what sort of film it is and his knowledge pays off. He's got a distinct tone to his directing; a certain approach, if you will. Don't be fooled by its 2015 release date. This is a movie made in the 60s, or at least that was my thought process watching this movie. Ritchie is a man of great talent and this is one of his best yet. But has he really made too many bad movies? Exactly.
Cavill and Hammer play two very conflicting characters in this movie and their relationship is priceless. Cavill's character is a straight up classy act, born and bred in the US of A. He's a charmer, a genius and he's the man with a plan, always knowledgable of his entrances and exits. He's one step ahead of everybody. That is except for his partner, Hammer's character. A Russian soldier with anger issues, it's refreshing to see Hammer acting again. If the Social Network showed he had talent, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. proves it.
The dialogue between the two of them just bounces through the air, not a single line failing to work. It's a very well written screenplay. Exaggerated and familiar, perhaps, but it's just so refreshing to see something as fun as this. We don't get too many films like this anymore and while I'm certainly not asking for hundreds more, having the odd one here and there is sure to bring a smile to my face. Fun is seriously the best word I can use to describe this movie and that's because it is. It really is just two hours of fun and I implore you to go see it this upcoming weekend.
The third lead of the film, Alicia Vikander, is, like always, enthralling. No matter what film she's in, whether it's the monstrosity that was Seventh Son or the masterclass effort that was Ex Machina, she's always one of the best components of the film. While Ex Machina remains her finest achievement in terms of performance, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. does a solid job at giving it a run for its money. The two are completely different movies, but they're both must sees. Vikander knows how to pick a script.
What I didn't expect for this film was for it to be as hilarious as it was. The film is absolutely hysterical, putting what could be considered dark situations, such as torture, in a lighter tone, resulting in a lot of belly laughs. There's a scene involving Hammer and Cavill in a boat chase that happens about halfway through the movie that's absolutely brilliant. While the whole film knows exactly what it is, this scene showcases that style the best. What starts out as a serious, possibly dangerous scenario soon turns into one of the funniest scenes in the entire movie.
To sum up, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a fun, energetic, stylised, over the top and completely entertaining cinema experience that will draw you in from the opening title sequence and never let you leave until its brisk runtime comes to an end. Talk about a crowd pleasing movie!