Man From U.N.C.L.E

A light-hearted and immensely entertaining spy caper

Finally, we get a proper Hollywood summer movie (admittedly slightly belatedly as the week of British summer time appears to have drawn to a close…) Nevertheless, this is the kind of film you’d expect to see, a fizzling and refreshing take of a much-loved genre. The story might not be the most original, or particularly remarkable, but the immensely charismatic performances of its stars make it a hilarious romp that is well-worth seeing.

It’s 1963. In the midst of a global stand-off, with the world on the on the cusp of nuclear war, ex-con turned leading C.I.A agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is tasked with tracking down and rescuing Gabby Teller (Alicia Vikander). Her father, who is currently missing, was a Nazi scientist who worked for the U.S government due to his specialism of nuclear weaponry. Solo finds Gabby easily enough, but was being pursued by leading KGB agent Illyra Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) who is also on a mission to locate Gabby. A chase sequence follows, with Solo managing to get Gabby over the Berlin wall into West Berlin and leaving Illyra on the other side of it. That’s not the last the trio will see of each other, as the next day Solo’a American handler and Illyra’s Russian counterpart bring them to a meeting and announce that they will be working together to stop a pair of former Nazi’s who are forcing Gabby’s father to create their own personal nuclear weapon.  They must go undercover and work together to find Gabby’s father, however, Solo and Illyra are given private orders from their seniors to steal the data from the project for their respective governments.

What follows is a breezy, stylisation and oh-so elegant production. It’s an affectionate tribute to the Bond series and other espionage classics; a fun and frivolous, and even rather fresh, take on a much-worn genre. With a sparky soundtrack, gorgeous costumes and speedy editing to set the tone you’ll be kept engage from frame-to-frame. These features, along with the magnetic leads, make for a charming ride of a movie. Vikander is scintillating as a German mechanic who becomes embroiled in matters of international performance. Hammer is incredibly endearing as a Russian spy who may have a sweet heart within his looming psychique. Then we have Cavill whose charm, wit and suave emulates the pre- Daniel-Craig-era Bond.

It’s nothing particularly new, but with a few inventive twists and turns this makes for a laugh out loud cinematic gem.

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