U.N.C.L.E. Is Old-Fashioned —in a Good Way

Critics generally agree it's a good flick, at least for August
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2015 12:00 PM CDT

Two spies from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain join forces to keep a bomb out of the hands of a mutual enemy in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., inspired by the 1960s TV show. What do critics think of Guy Ritchie's first flick since 2011? Here's what they're saying:

  • "Ritchie's movies have always suffered from a coldness around the heart, but it's August and it's hot and we could all use a little A/C," writes Ty Burr at the Boston Globe. He calls the flick "a tonic for the late-summer dog days—an effervescent throwback to old-school spy thrillers" that generally pleases, showing off good banter and cool toys. "That the movie is almost instantly forgettable is part of the pleasure."
  • Chris Klimek at NPR agrees. "What substance it has could be dissolved in a shot glass. But so what?" It's "a triumph of cinematography, production design, costuming, music supervision/scoring, and editing" and "feels like a boozy getaway to the Rome of La Dolce Vita. Surely that's good enough for August." Keep an eye out for "the funniest torture scene" in decades, he adds.

  • Michael O'Sullivan argues the film is "lethal ... but not in a good way." It's "a creaky, bloated simulacrum of the groovy past, where it should be a quick, slick, and debonair re-imagining of it," he writes at the Washington Post. "This U.N.C.L.E. is not just decrepit, but ugly and dumb," he adds. Then comes this jab: "The threat that this mess of a movie might be followed by a sequel is enough to make anyone cry uncle."
  • Stephanie Zacharek had a different take: Get ready for "stylish, artfully ridiculous delights" because this movie is full of them, she writes at Village Voice. This "may be the summer movie we didn't know we were waiting for." She argues the flick is "old-fashioned in the best sense," but with "lots of modern tricks and technology." The downside: "Ritchie just doesn't know when to quit, which means we get multiple endings when, really, just one would do."
(More movie review stories.)

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