Guy Ritchie’s latest film is a most satisfying thrill ride, bringing espionage, secret agents and world history together while updating a classic 1960s TV series. Loved it totally. It’s the prequel that was always meant to be. Can’t say enough great things about it.
Little but important details give this movie authenticity and believability. How long, for example, did Armie Hammer practice that Russian accent for his role – it was veritably perfect. (And Hammer, whose famous paternal great-grandparents were Russian-born, was perfectly cast as Illya Kuryakin.) Laurence Olivier lookalike, Henry Cavill, as Napoleon Solo in some scenes nailed Robert Vaughn’s voice. Alicia Vikander as the striking fashion plate (and car mechanic) Gabby Teller often lightened up the sharp-angled espionage with humorous edges, as well as surprisingly being a love interest to Kuryakin, not Solo. Hugh Grant was an appropriately distinguished Waverly.
Above: Armie Hammer (left) as Illya Kuryakin,
and Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo
Guy Ritchie (currently filming Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur for a planned 2016 release) may well have earned a reputation as the next Stanley Kubrick for mixing visuals so explosively with music. And what an intense, pulsing soundtrack, style-stretching beyond the 1960s. (Early on I actually had to stuff kleenex in both ears, not because of the genre, but to stave off deafness from the extreme volume of the theatre surround sound.)
I did somewhat miss the original U.N.C.L.E. theme music – and there was no classic “Open channel D” quip – both of which may well show up, likely updated, in the sequel(s). The tech stuff wasn’t quite there yet in the storyline. This deserves at least one sequel, maybe two or three. In this first movie, U.N.C.L.E. was born from a union of CIA and KGB, and the bond of trust and friendship between agents Solo and Kuryakin was forged. Can hardly wait for the next installment.
Copyright © August 2015: Lorraine Dmitrovic