I have to admit I didn’t know much about ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ when I went to see it. I pretty much knew that the trailer looked cool, I like Guy Ritchie as a director, that like a lot of things in Hollywood it was a remake (this time of a 1960s British TV Series) and I have a soft spot for spy thrillers based in the 1960s and the Cold War. ‘Tinker Tailor Solider Spy’, was the nitty-gritty film that introduced me to the intriguing and the subtle moves and counter-moves of Cold War espionage. I absolutely loved it, because it was intelligent and tension filled film making.
As much as I loved it though, I did want to see a 1960s Cold War Thriller with a little bit of a fun edge, and Ritchie’s ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ delivers the tension, the counter-moves and the humour all rolled into an action packed and glamorous couple of hours.
The plot is fairly simple; a rogue organisation with links to Nazism has the means and the ability to make themselves a nuclear power. In order to try and prevent this, and also to bolster their own nuclear position, America and Russia team up in order to stop them. Henry Cavill and Arnie Hammer deliver flawless performances as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin; their rapport with each other is brilliant to watch.
Their characters are both very competent spys, but with very different skill sets that compliment each other very well, much to their irritation. Despite being from America and Russia, as much as they do dislike each other just on principle they do have a great deal of respect for each other, and watch each other’s back.
The utter brilliance of the film though cannot just be credited to the male leads; they are essentially the brawn when compared to Alicia Vikander’s Gaby and Elizabeth Debicki’s Victoria.
The former is the daughter of the nuclear scientist helping the Nazi’s and is recruited by Solo and Kuryakin to help stop them. She is witty, feisty, and completely at ease with just being herself. While she adds to the glamour and the beauty of the film, she is well aware of her importance in trying to help stop a nuclear disaster. She is not just there to wear the thigh skimming mini skirts and look pretty. She is the most vital cog in the team; in truth the only reason she needs a team because she needs Illya to pose as her fiance.
And then there is Victoria; stunningly beautiful, brainy and the film’s main villain. I absolutely loved this character. Posed and confident, she is the perfect match for Solo, Illya and Gabby. It was a wonderful, refreshing change to see a female villain that in truth is better than most male villains I’ve seen over the the years. The character was just flawless.
I loved the film from start to finish; the plot wasn’t overly complicated but not so simple it was insulting; the cinematography and editing made for a beautiful film; and the characters were three dimensional human beings. I know that Hollywood is getting a lot of stick at the minute for remakes and sequel, but this was a brilliant remake which I very much hope gets a sequel.