The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – A Slave to Status Quo


By Stephen Fasulo II

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Courtesy of


Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a good movie. It’s not great, but it is an
average film with some amazing pieces that rounds into a fun time.
First, the bad parts of the movie. The plot was at best, lazy. The
concept is interesting; during the Cold War, a pair of secret agents
from the U.S. and the Soviet Union battle a movement of new Nazis. But
the film hits every single spy movie trope.

Begrudging friendship between rivals? Check. Torture scene where the
hero is saved last minute? Check. Double Cross? Check. Love-hate
relationship between two main characters? Call Casino Royale, it’s
It’s desperately trying to present itself as a “fun” movie, and this
creates a shallow-ness to the characters. The characters are never
more than characters. They never allow you to think of them as people
who struggle, unlike this year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, and
they aren’t anything but caricatures of classic spy film characters.
It would be more interesting to let the actors play with the many
faults the movie lists their characters as having, but they aren’t,
and the movie suffers for it.

What sets the movie apart is the few things it does do extremely
well. The movie is cast perfectly. Henry Cavill plays the dashing
C.I.A. Agent – essentially an American Bond – which is ironic, because
Cavill is British. Armie Hammer is hilarious and endearing as the
emotionally shutoff, fish-out-of-water, efficient KGB agent.

The villains are one-dimensional, but the actors playing them have
such a good time being comically evil that they are just great to
watch, and Jared Harris — you might recognize him from RDJ’s Sherlock
Holmes: A Game of Shadows as Moriary —  has  a few great bits as
Cavill’s gruff C.I.A. handler. The actors have great chemistry, but
unfortunately the cookie-cutter characters they play give them no room
to truly flaunt their skill.

The music department excelled with the soundtrack and no scene
suffers from poorly timed music or a bad song. It’s easily one of the
best scored films of the year.
But the thing that really stands out, the thing that makes me
recommend this film despite my annoyances, is the cinematography. This
movie is absolutely beautiful. The movie’s cinematography work is more
clever than almost any cinematography I’ve seen in the last two years.
It’s shot brilliantly and the camera is allowed to be an active
medium, painting moving pieces, instead taking of static conversation
shots  or using a stale technique like shakycam during a fight scene.
This movie is a fill-in-the-blanks spy flick, but I liked it.
The actors were amazing —watch out for Hugh Grant’s hilarious part as
the British Spymaster. The music was well-paced and the movie is,
visually, absolutely stunning. There isn’t anything groundbreaking
here but I’d love to see one or two sequels out of this, if only to
see Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer throw quips at each other while
evading enemy goons.

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