The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the latest and greatest film by Guy Ritchie, finally releases on DVD and Blu-Ray this week just in time for the holidays (11/17 – now available on VOD). Based on the classic television series, and set during the Cold War era, American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kurakin (Armie Hammer) reluctantly team together to try and prevent a mysterious international criminal organization from building a nuclear weapon.
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed watching a film as much as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Then again I could watch Henry and Armie take turns reading a telephone book for days and still be entertained. Guy has an incredible gift in both casting amazing talent to fill every role, and also in finding the perfect nuances to spotlight within each character. For instance, Solo and Illya bring to life the tension of the time yet still show the layers of humanity beyond their training and mission.
It would be very difficult to have to compete with Henry and Armie on screen, but the beauty and charm Alicia Vikander brings to her character, Gaby Teller, proves that she can stand her own ground. The chemistry between the three characters is palpable. Throw in all of the fantastic vintage outfits and Alicia embodies the perfect blend of strength and femininity of women in the ’60s.
There are few films that can keep you guessing until the absolute end. Just when you think you have figured out the subtext the story veers in another direction. The action leaves you on the edge of your seat while the humor has you quite literally laughing out loud. I even found myself clapping and then ridiculously braying like a donkey more than once. The boat scene alone is quite possibly one of my favorite action sequences ever. You can appreciate it even more knowing that Henry and Armie performed most of their own stunts. Amazing! And such a brilliant scene. Did you catch the throwback to the TV show?
So often Guy’s films find their home with a very specific audience. I, for one, enjoy his films for their humor and creative storytelling. However, with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. there is something for everyone. Action, adventure, humor, style, intrigue, mystery, espionage and not to mention three incredibly gorgeous human beings leading an extraordinary ensemble for this thrilling ride of a film. What more could you ask for? Once in a blue moon I will watch a film twice in a row in order to discover all of the breadcrumbs I missed the first time around. I could watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E. every day this week and still not catch all of the subtleties and clues. To me, that is a sign of a great beginning to a long running franchise. Fingers crossed!
DVD/Blu-Ray Special Features: “The Guys From U.N.C.L.E.” – A part-making-of, part-travelogue, all-attitude look behind the curtain. “Spyvision: Recreating the ’60s Cool – The music, the clothes, the design, the cars… the ’60s have always been the coolest era. PLUS: “A Higher Class of Hero”, “Metisse Motorcycles: Proper – And Very British”, “A Man of Extraordinary Talents” and “U.N.C.L.E.: On-Set Spy”.
Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content and partial nudity.