The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie full length review - Spies, sex, suits, music and a collection of the greatest sports cars in history.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a masterpiece that ticks all the boxes; quality soundtrack, superb script, spectacular acting and one hundred percent addictive.
I have never considered myself to be a Guy Ritchie fan (Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), in fact I never would of even considered this film to be one of my favourites from watching the trailer, but I thought, to hell with it, and added it to my watch list. After all, Ritchie's attempt of resurrecting the Sherlock story was a huge success. Two films that I can't find many flaws in, if in fact any at all. Once more Ritchie has made a film that I can watch over, and over, and over again. And I'm so glad I have. The 1960's is my favourite period, and being such a fanatic, I can tell you it's difficult to find a good film that contains every aspect of the swinging century, including spies, sex, suits, music and a collection of the greatest sports cars in history.
This film is spectacularly set, to begin with, in the Eastern zone of a recovering post war Germany, where we find the stunning brunette Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), that runs her own chop shop. However, as swiftly as Gaby is "saved" from the Soviet Sector, by Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), from Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), we are taken into West Germany. Here, after a ruckus in a public restroom, the narrative is set. After the undesirable pairing of CIA agent Solo and KGB operative Kuryakin, we are taken to Italy, an unlikely setting for a cold war film I thought. It is here where the friction filled duo, and our "helpless damsel" that is dragged along with them, must stop a group of Neo-Nazi's, who obviously didn't get the message after the previous attempts of a fascist state didn't work out so well. Here in Italy we see all the sights; the gorgeous Roman architecture, the dazzling blue Mediterranean Sea and a packed racetrack, which plays host to a decedent afternoon garden party. The collection of seductive, exotic European accents, and a slightly annoying American one, pulls you into the film more than anything else. The exotic and the suave and ridiculously cocky captivates.
Not only are the performances and settings superb, the attention to detail gives no room for mistake. The props compliment every exciting setting, such as the little ice cream truck Kuryakin races around winding Italian mountain passes in, the Vespa that the two spies ride around the streets of Rome together and the variety of tumblers? often at the clutch of Solo. I wasn't joking when I said this film ticked all the boxes, the editing is expertly executed. The bright yellow slab-serif titles give the film its fitting theme for nostalgia. This film endlessly uses elements suited to the era.
Fast paced editing is appropriately exercised for both the exciting scenes, as well as the tense action, which is captured in the comic strip style. The use of flashback narrative so brilliantly drives the story forward and tricks us as viewers into indulging in the "who's side are they really on". It also adds a little comedy, which this film is not short of. The editing of sound however, is the real gem of this film, with its use of sound bridging and synchronously adding romantic jazz to the soundtrack.
Every character successfully makes this story real, particularly Solo's annoying personality. Who would of known anyone could be so in love with himself. Never wear a suit that "doesn't go" otherwise he would never let you live it down. I find it funny how he reminds me of a few people I know, which is just what makes this character realistic and not ridiculously fictitious. Kuryakin is the uptight, angry perfectionist that we all know, paired with the Soviet naivety makes him comically lovable and just plain charming. The pair's friction somehow works to make them the perfect team and in the end you actually see a friendship forming. The character I never expected to see in this film is the fair-haired, romantic-flick king himself Hugh Grant. His character cracks me up and for once he's playing a funny but sophisticated British gentleman that you just can't hate. After all the stick he gets for appearing in so many romantic comedies, the patriot inside me gave a little cheer as he sat comfortably in his genuine role. Of course no spy film is complete without a femme fatal. That role is filled by Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki). The indulgent aristocrat is a fanatical fascist with a snivelling ex-Nazi as her crony, who is a little too comical for the grim reality of WW2.
For me the soundtrack (Daniel Pemberton) is what finishes this film off and gift-wraps it. I fell in love with it and haven't stopped listening. I have discovered my love for smooth jazz and Latin American rhythm. My favourite scene, that I have fond memories of watching every time I have stuck this film on, I play over and over in my head. Solomon Burke's 'Cry To Me' gives the little East German girl dancing around in her pyjamas and sunglasses such gravitas. The soundtrack is a certainly a romantic one that is bound to make anyone fall in love with this film as much as I have. My heart sinks a little every time the movie ends and is wrapped up by Nina Simone in the credits.
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