Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Reappraisal: ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ is stylish, fast-paced fun

Reappraisal: ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ is stylish, fast-paced fun

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 6:02pm

In 2015, director Guy Ritchie (“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”) released “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” a Cold War spy caper featuring Henry Cavill (“Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”), Alicia Vikander (“Submergence”) and Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) as a motley crew of international spies hunting for a missing warhead. The film seemed to be one nobody had asked for, adapted from a low-brow 1964 television series of the same name. What’s more, it opened just weeks after spy-movie blockbuster “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” As a result, ticket sales were less than spectacular. With tepid critical reviews, the film came and went as little more than a blip on the 2015 summer movie radar. Today the film remains one of the most underrated spy films to come out of the last decade, featuring dazzling stylization, irresistible cast chemistry and an electrifying soundtrack.

The spy flick was once a pillar of popular cinema: Filled with suave machismo, high fashion and exorbitant amounts of innuendo, the style of the classic spy movie is a cultural icon. Today, they don’t make spy movies like they used to; box offices are dominated by dark, gritty films like “The Bourne” series, and even the once-campy “James Bond” films now boast sleek, blue-tinted color palettes.

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is an homage to a bygone era of film. It doesn’t concern itself with deep, troubled backstories or a dark, moody aesthetic. The film meticulously recreates the style of the classic spy film, from its split-screen action sequences to its dramatic camera zooms. The film revels in this campy, carefree style with just enough modern flair to not feel dated. Critics panned the film for prioritizing style over substance, which it did. However, positing that criticism of this kind of film is like comparing Dr. Pepper to fine wine. The film wasn’t made to be deep — it was made to be stylish and fun, a goal it achieves in spades.

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Much more about the Man From UNCLE in the Open Channel D book: -
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