Decidedly, the secret agents have the rating at this time. After the delusional Kingsman in Matthew Vaughn in the beginning of the year, Spy in Paul Feig and waiting for the release of the next James Bond, Spectre (November 11), here comes VERY SPECIAL AGENTS – CODE U. N. C. L. E, “an adaptation of the american series Of the Agent very special broadcast by NBC between 1964 and 1968.
Director Guy Ritchie turns the page Sherlock Holmes, in which he made two adaptations (2009 and 2011) dynamic and highly stylized (the pure Guy Ritchie), but quite focused. With AGENT VERY SPECIAL it offers a supposed entertainment, a comedy of espionage where the key is the ambiance and class that it conveys. A class all the more marked by the nostalgia of an era that follows.
At the beginning of the 60s, the cold war, VERY SPECIAL AGENTS – CODE U. N. C. L. E traces the story of the CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to leave aside their antagonism to the ancestral, the two men engage in a joint mission : to put out of harm’s way an international criminal determined to undermine the fragile balance of world power, promoting the proliferation of weapons and nuclear technologies. For the time, Solo and Kuryakin have only one track : the contact of the daughter of a German scientist missing, the only one able to infiltrate the criminal organization. They embark in a race against the clock to find his trace and prevent a planetary cataclysm.
As usual, Guy Ritchie, is fun, but without neglecting its viewer. Any part of this reproduction of the era, the early 1960s, during which takes place the film. Scenery (Oliver Scholl) and costume design (Joanna Johnston, a frequent contributor to Spielberg) are a delight for the eyes. The round glasses are perfectly matched to the long white dress ofAlicia Vikander, the tailored outfits ofHenry Cavill, who plays the american agent Napoleon Solo.
But where Ritchie gets to go beyond this simple respect a synonym for credibility is that there is a part of this old school within its realization. Many plans and movements of the camera recall these movies in ” the old “, and are incorporated in the staging, very modern and clean to Ritchie. There is this very particular way of filming the scenery from afar, from a wide shot to a fast zoom on a character’s movement, but keeping a certain distance with the actors. The pinnacle is reached with one of the final scenes, when the intervention of the agents on an island full of armed men. It is thought in a first time to attend a battle way Operation Thunder (the 4th James Bond directed by Terence Young, 1965). But instead of offering the usual sequence of shooting between “good” and ” bad guys,” Ritchie uses a split-screen (split-screen) also masterly than that of Norman Jewison in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), to ship the entire with originality and to avoid us from getting bored.
If it is very effective in the general rhythm and sequence of actions, it is a pity all the same in him a tendency to be a little too much when it comes to reveal of the plot twists, remontrant to the death scenes from another angle in order to see details that were missed by the viewer and the protagonists. A brand style which could be justified in two Sherlock Holmes, but which here ends up getting bored and to create the lengths in the film. But it is precisely this habit of supporting more than necessary some of the things that made it the great paradox of Guy Ritchie, capable to annoy and fascinate at the same time.
“Guy Ritchie manages to capture the era it represents, and its cinema.”
Of course, good entertainment that it is, VERY SPECIAL AGENTS – CODE U. N. C. L. E is not demarcated by its storyline. As an old Bond, one sheet to fully understand the plans of the criminal enterprise and there is no doubt of the success of the mission – the revelations go too fast and come out confused. Because everything is in the visual and the atmosphere.
The excellent music composed by Daniel Pemberton, although too present, perfectly accompanies the film and it offers the perfect blend of action and irony, and plunges us with delight in the 1960s. The final result is of course so slick that it would sometimes almost an advertisement for the perfume, it is not less effective and a class ultimate.
This is also to return to the beautiful distribution. Henry Cavill is the big surprise of the film, especially since its benefits without interest in the as Man of Steel (Zack Snyder, 2013). Under its air of mannequin expressionless, he manages here to embody the perfect agent Napoleon Solo, also charming as a 007 – the two characters have been invented by Ian Fleming. Not enough all the same to see him as a possible successor to Daniel Craig, but not too far. In front of him and Armie Hammer (Illya Kuryakin) plays the card of the agent of the soviet cold and hard and it works. The duo formed by the two actors is a treat. Introducing continuously spades and challenges, like a dueling cowboy – nickname of Illya gave Solo – in a western, to which Ritchie refers of course. Because the developer develops the origins of the series, and in particular the beginnings of a collaboration unlikely and bound to be conflict between an agent and american agent in the soviet in the Cold War which will lead to the organization U. N. C. L. E.
Finally, between the two we find Alicia Vikander (Gaby Teller, the daughter of a scientist wanted by the two agents) who delights in style yet again, after the historical film a Royal Affair, the fantasy film Ex Machina , or even the film sentimental Memories of youth. Has the see dancing in the party drunk in their pajamas and sunglasses on the nose behind a Illya almost unperturbed, the Swedish actress leaves scope for a certain sense of humor and comes out as spicy as appealing.
In the end if VERY SPECIAL AGENTS – CODE U. N. C. L. E to be just an entertainment, effective, and classic, the pleasure it provides is present. Combining the best action and humor, Guy Ritchie knows how to keep his audience attentive. But above all, he proves with this film the possibility to slightly modify the code and do it correctly on the ” new “with” old “. It has modern shown, but Ritchie manages to capture the era it represents, and its cinema, and even evoke, intentionally or not, some of the classics. More than an adaptation, his film appears in the end as the successful encounter of two periods.