The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – Should I Watch It?

Intro to… The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I have been on the hype-train for this movie since I first heard about it. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a TV series my grandfather and father used to watch together when my dad was young. They are huge fans of the spy genre and this has passed on to me as well. And with Guy Ritchie directing I was confident this movie was going to be a great watch.

The Plot
In the 60s Berlin was divided in two by a huge wall. The allied forces managed the West, and the Russians managed the East. The Cold War made traveling between these two sides very hard, even impossible for some.

CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) gets tasked to get into East Berlin and retrieve Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the daughter of a missing nuclear scientist. During this mission he meets the Russian KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). They fight but Napoleon manages to get the upper hand and finishes his assignment.

The Americans and the Russians both find out that Gaby’s father, Udo Teller (Christian Berkel), has discovered a way to easily create nuclear bombs. An alliance between the CIA and the KGB is created and Napoleon and Kuryakin are ordered to work together to prevent that Udo Teller’s work falls in the wrong hands. They are also both ordered to retrieve his work by their respective agencies, even at the cost of the other’s life.

Should I Watch It?
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has a lot going for itself. The concept of America and Russia working together during the Cold War gives many opportunities for drama and comedy, and the 60s are great for stylish spy movies.

I will be the first to admit that the movie looks great. It fully embraces and flawlessly visualises the 60s. But the seemingly brilliant concept of America and Russia being forced to work together gets tirelessly overplayed. At first it is funny, we get to know our characters and their different approaches. It even brings a smile to your face. But rather than them learning to adapt to each other, they just keep bickering as if they were a couple of 12-year old kids. It quickly loses its charm.

Henry Cavill makes for a fine Superman, but lacks the charisma needed to play a suave superspy. The way he talks and moves gives the impression that his character is inspired by Roger Moore’s representation of James Bond, but it just does not work for him. He misses the charm that made Moore stand out. Armie Hammer does a fine job. His accent is not exactly spot on, but he plays the stereotypical strong and sturdy Russian KGB agent well enough. Alicia Vikander does a fine job as well, but I cannot shake the feeling that some else, maybe Nina Dobrev, would be better suited for her role.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a disappointing watch. The story itself was actually quite entertaining, but the acting never stood out and the directing/editing can be called sub-par at best. I would not recommend this movie. It looks like Kingsman: The Secret Service is still the spy sensation of 2015.

No, don’t watch it.

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  1. Spectre – Should I Watch It? | The Silver Screen Savant - November 2, 2015

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