From Guy Ritchie comes another entry to this year’s collection of spy movies, the 60s set, super cool Man From U.N.C.L.E.. The film sees top CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) team up with KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) in order to stop a mysterious criminal organization from distributing nuclear weapons.
In a year of spy movies (Kingsman, Mission Inpossible, Bond), this one stands out; it has an interesting plot with many twists and surprises, and this is complimented well by its fantastic direction. Guy Ritchie is a well established, unique director; he knows what he’s doing, and can afford to make a few big creative decisions, like the split screen we see in a few action sequences, which pay off really well. This, coupled with an unpredictable, enjoyable plot, makes for an action-packed, fun spy film, which doesn’t take itself too seriously and mostly just kicks ass. Great costuming and an awesome soundtrack also throws it back to the 1960s heyday spy era.
Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer bromance it up as our two spies; Cavill plays Napoleon Solo, an ex-thief turned top CIA man. He’s a bit of a womaniser, clever and crafty, a suave all-American and very, very cool. His character can basically be summed up in a scene where he eats and drinks wine and watches Illya’s boat sink, which is a highlight of the film for me. Illya Kuryakin, however, is more of the emotional backbone of the film; with his convicted father’s reputation, he wants to be the most honorable man he can, whether it’s as an agent, a friend, or in his complex relationship with Gaby. Hammer and Cavill have brilliant chemistry, and their interactions are great to watch.
There are also some really strong female characters in the film; Alicia Vikander’s Gaby Teller is an independent, strong mechanic from Germany who more than holds her own against the boys. She’s much more than just Illya’s romantic interest (not that they get much romance), and has her own agenda. And Elizabeth Debicki’s Victoria is the ultimate femme fatale, striking and deadly, and much more powerful than her husband Alexander (Luca Calvani).
Spy movies have become more than just a stunt-packed, serious film full of brooding middle aged men (sorry, Bond); if the Man From U.N.C.L.E. has taught us anything, it’s that spy movies can be fun, as well as action-packed, and still be suave and cool. The ending is set up to allow a sequel, and I can’t wait to see what’s next from Guy Ritchie and the Man From U.N.C.L.E..
Also, here’s my list of the top 5 films starring the Men and Women From U.N.C.L.E.:
- Man of Steel (Henry Cavill)
- The Social Network (Armie Hammer)
- Ex Machina (Alivia Vikander)
- Love, Actually (Hugh Grant)
- Snatch (Guy Ritchie/Director)