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

Guy Richie's big-screen adaptation of the 60s spy show fails to thrill

Film Review by Josh Slater-Willams | 03 Dec 2015
Film title: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris, Sylvester Groth, Luca Calvani, Christian Berkel, Misha Kuznetsov
Release date: Dec 7
Certificate: 12

It’s been nearly 20 years since 60s TV spy show Mission: Impossible made the leap to the big screen, largely abandoning the source material’s Cold War trappings for more contemporary concerns. As the fifth M:I film hit cinemas this year, another 60s spy property finally gets a modern adaptation, albeit in period-piece pastiche mode with era contexts firmly intact.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. sees CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill, riffing on a fun Robert Vaughn impression) team up with KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) and East Germany escapee Gaby (Alicia Vikander) to stop a fascist socialite (The Great Gatsby scene-stealer Elizabeth Debicki) with a nuclear bomb.

The cast charms, the retro-rock soundtrack’s great, but U.N.C.L.E.’s action rarely stirs and the whole thing feels strangely free of incident; Vikander’s mod mini-dresses linger in the memory far more than any of the plot. Despite all this, it’s probably Guy Ritchie’s best film. [Josh Slater-Williams]

Released on Warner Home Video