The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

In Theatres: 
Aug 14, 2015
Running Time: 
116 minutes

There is a specific panache to a Guy Ritchie film that makes you instantly recognize his directing. He has a distinct fast-paced rhythm of both action and dialogue that tend to favor style over substance, but it makes for a damn entertaining film. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is no different and delivers one of the most entertaining, if not absurd, films of the summer.


The United States and Russia we’re exactly on good terms during the Cold War in the 1960’s. Despite their differences, the two world powers teamed up to stop an international criminal organization from getting their hands on a nuclear device capable of shifting power to whoever owns it. U.S. agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) begrudgingly work together in order to prevent another nuclear catastrophe and recover the blueprints for the device for their respective governments, all the while showboating their abilities in order to see who is the greatest spy of all.


Based on the television series by the same name, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. plays out like a episode of Spy vs. Spy. Opposing agents Solo and Kuryakin are the driving force of the film, and Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer absolutely nail the roles. The banter between the two is brilliant as they butt heads on just about every aspect of the mission, from who gets to pick the lock on a door to what Kuryakin’s “fiancée” Gaby (Alicia Vikander) will wear. Every scene between the two is hilarious in one fashion or another. The film ignores any would-be danger in favor eliciting a laugh.


One of the best scenes of the film involves Kuryakin eluding enemy gunfire on a powerboat while Solo watches from the cab of a truck, enjoying a nice sandwich. In a James Bond film a scene like this would play out with a high speed chase sequence. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. instead just focuses on Solo calmly eating a sandwich, only occasionally having Kuryakin’s powerboat pass through the frame being followed by a barrage of bullets. It’s a great scene that showcases the dynamic between the two, and how entertaining Ritchie can be.


The story is your standard spy fare and follows the typical beats and twists of the genre. What makes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. so entertaining is what Cavill and Hammer bring to the table, along with Guy Ritchie’s style. Without them it would just be another spy thriller. Instead they make its characters worth investing into.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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