The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 8/15/15
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris

Suave CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and hot-tempered KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to work together during the Cold War in an attempt to keep a sinister third party out of the nuclear arms race. The key is Gabriella Teller (Alicia Vikander), who is the daughter of a nuclear scientist that recently went missing. Working in an atmosphere of fear, paranoia, contempt, and distrust, the three of them have to overcome their differences in order to save the world from a power-mad villain played with wicked glee by Elizabeth Debicki.

As you would expect from Guy Ritchie, the film is overflowing with style, and while it's set in the 1960's, it's never readily apparent what the time period is. Technology is the biggest giveaway, which is really the only thing that makes the story even remotely conceivable. I'm not a fan of either Henry Cavill or Armie Hammer, but they sell the material well and end up being both charming and entertaining. If nothing else, Hammer's subdued performance makes up for his horrible role in "The Lone Ranger" (2013). Alicia Vikander is a fiery wild card, and she's a spiteful bitch full of attitude and disdain. In other words, I liked her a lot. Unfortunately, the film is light on action and heavy on banter, which makes it drag quite a bit. Style and charm can only carry a film so far, and it doesn't take long for you to wish that it would pick up the pace. Still, it's a fun ride for fans of stylish espionage thrillers, provided you have the patience for it.