The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Directed by Guy Richie
Written by Guy Richie, Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman, and David Campbell Wilson
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki and Hugh Grant
During the Cold War of the 1960’s, with tensions between the US and the Soviet Union at an all-time high. A CIA agent (Cavill) and a KGB agent (Hammer) work on a joint mission to stop a criminal organization from obtaining nuclear weapons. On their shared mission, the two agents work with the daughter of a missing German scientist (Vikander) because her father is a vital part in how the organization plans to obtain their nuclear arsenal.
The positives of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. are the cast. Cavill and Hammer had a decent chemistry they played off each other well in some scenes, but there were some scenes where their chemistry was uninspired. They played the reluctant partner dynamics between their two characters well. Armie Hammer’s Russian accent was not that bad; there have been much worse Russian accents on film. Hammer also played the role well. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. based on a TV series from the 1960’s that started in the wake of the popularity of James Bond. Considering that Henry Cavill had been considered for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale, this film is an insight into what might have been if Cavill had gotten the part of Bond. The cast also featured strong performances from Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki. Vikander was great as the participant who may or may not have her motives. Throughout the movie what, if any, ulterior motives that Vikander’s character may have are well hidden until they were meant to be revealed. Debicki plays the antagonist of the movie not in the traditional femme fatal way, but with a sinister elegance. The strength of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is that, much like Kingsman: The Secret Service released earlier this year, the film is a throwback to the old Connery-era Bond movies of the 1960’s. The film is a spy movie that manages to fun without being campy.
While The Man from U.N.C.L.E. succeeds in several places, there are parts of the film where it comes up short, one being the film does not have a strong antagonist. Debicki gives an excellent performance in the movie, but it is a case of the actor is better than the character. Debicki’s motivations for wanting to acquire the nuclear weapons were unclear. Debicki felt like she was a throwaway antagonist, an antagonist that was only there to be the antagonist. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. also suffers from a weak editing job. There are a couple of spots in the film where scenes had been apparently left on the cutting room floor. I do not know why, I do believe that the film would have benefited from having those scenes left in the movie. One of the scenes would have been a fun action scene; the other scene appeared to have important plot information and would have been a smashing love scene between Cavill and Debicki. Although there were a few other scenes, that seemed to have been cut, those were brought back in to move the plot along. That was a clever device, but the scenes that were left out of the film left an apparent gap in the film.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. succeeds as a throwback to the spy films of the 1960’s; it has a fantastic cast, flashy style, and a fun tone that a summer movie needs. However, the movie suffers from an underdeveloped villain and poor editing. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. receives a 3.5/5.