Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer prove that opposites do work together well in this classy and stylish spy thriller.
Looking for a film involving spies, action with a great sense of humour that isn’t a James Bond film? Well look no further than Guy Ritchie’s latest film, based on the classic television series – which shows how to do things with class and style.
Set in the 1960’s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) must work together to bring down a criminal organisation that is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.
What makes this film work as well as it does is that although some of the action sequences might seem slightly over the top (the van landing in the water sequence for example) but yet it doesn’t go too far with it to make it completely unconvincing for the audience. This is thanks to Guy Ritchie’s sharp and focused style of directing that audiences will be familiar with thanks to films such as Sherlock Holmes.
Another strength is the way in which tension is broken through with humour or a complete change of direction that means that the film is never in real danger of taking itself too seriously – but yet is still gripping to watch from beginning to end.
The screenplay written by Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram is sharp, intelligent and witty – delivered perfectly by Cavill and Hammer, two opposites who somehow manage to get through the film without killing each other. Cavill plays the charming if slightly arrogant Solo to perfection (contender for James Bond in the future possibly?), while Hammer has plenty to get his teeth into with Kuryakin – aggressive and slightly unlikeable up until the half way point in the film.
There is also great support from Alicia Vikander as the feisty and fiercely independent Gaby and Elizabeth Debicki who plays ice queen Victoria, with understated nastiness and plenty of intelligence.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E really captures the vibe of the 1960’s, with every detail drawing the audience more and more into this world of spies.
Perhaps where the film is less successful is that some of the scenes just feel like a distraction from the main plot – particularly the scene with Gaby attempting to persuade Kuryakin to dance – just doesn’t seem to work in the main context of the film. The length of the opening sequence also means that it takes a while for the film to really get going.
But unlike some of the James Bond films, this is not a film that will date easily as it features few gadgets, no real cliches to make future audiences to cringe and has more of an edge about it that other spy films lack.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E is available to buy on DVD now from Amazon.