- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 16 September 2015
- Written by ALLISON PERRINE | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
On Aug. 14, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., based on the original television series, was released to theaters. I’m typically not an action fan, but decided to see it, because, well, Henry Cavill. But fortunately I really enjoyed the film and its interesting twists (and that’s coming from a non-action fan).
I had never seen the original show prior to the movie, so I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen. I read the basic description on IMDB, which said that “In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.”
The opening scene is set in East Berlin, 1963, where Napoleon Solo (Cavill) makes his way to a mechanic shop in search of a woman named Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander). Gaby’s father is being ordered to create an atom bomb for Nazis, and Solo needs Gaby’s help getting to her family. In return, Solo will sneak her out of East Berlin. The two are followed by a Russian man, who turns out to be Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), Solo’s future partner.
Solo and Kuryakin are brought together for a mission. Kuryakin and Gaby will pose as fiancés and Solo as an antiquities dealer. There’s a “family business,” which Gaby’s uncle Rudi works for, that is believed to be a cover up in Rome, Italy. By getting to the family and accessing Gaby’s father through her uncle Rudi, the three of them will get to the bottom of it.
Towards the end of the film, we learn that one person involved in the trio hasn’t been completely reliable, which results in the capture of another. After several action-packed scenes, fights, and explosions, we are left with an interesting ending (during which someone finally uses an “uncle” reference).
On Rotten Tomatoes, a well-known review source, the film received a 67% out of 100. The average rating according to the site was a 6.2/10 out of 203 reviews counted. The site also lists how the audience scored the film, which is an 80%. According to the site, the average rating was a 3.9/5, conducted from 32,023 user ratings.
Overall, I really did enjoy the movie. The graphics were vivid and clear from the introduction to the credits, and the fighting scenes were very detailed. There were a couple of high-speed car chases and crashes, all of which were very realistic (minus the lack of injury). After watching a few clips from the original series in the 1960s, I realized just how much the graphics advanced. I found the realistic graphics to be much more enticing than the original’s.
The film seemed to take an interesting twist on gender roles throughout the movie. For instance, within the first 15 minutes of the movie we see a female as the mechanic and the male cooking for the woman. Secondly, masculinity was emphasized yet challenged at the same time. For example, Solo and Kuryakin are both strong, smooth special agents that had no problem with fighting or with finding women. Solo is intimate with a woman one minute and the next is insulting his partner by saying “that tie does not match that suit.”
We also see Gaby throwing back shots of alcohol, while Kuryakin, the big, strong Russian, doesn’t feel like it. Gaby is the one who tackles him to the ground—Gaby initiates their (almost) first kiss. While that could be a problem for some men, he responds the next day by telling her that he “likes his woman strong,” and isn’t turned off by her intensity.
One of the great parts about her intensity and strength is that she doesn’t have to be portrayed as unfeminine to show these dominant traits. She wears makeup and dresses, yet didn’t need to wear masculine clothes to have her power. She embraces her femininity but also isn’t a dainty flower. I’d certainly recommend this film to all of you (even the non-action seekers).
IMAGE COURTESY of news.moviephone.com