The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Review and Blu-ray Features
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
14 Aug 2015
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Trick played by actor itself
Napoleon Solo’s trick of removing a tablecloth from a table while leaving all the objects undisturbed wasn’t a visual effect – Henry Cavill actually did it, having trained in the trick from British variety star Mat Ricardo.
Stunts done by actor themselves
Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer often did their own stunts in the film. Hammer was more enthusiastic about his stunts; his stunt double joked that he “hardly has a chance to do anything because he’s out there doing it all by himself”
Focus on performance not physique.
Henry Cavill admitted that he was very relieved to not have a shirtless scene in this movie after a string of movies where he had to be in top shape. Cavill said that he was glad to focus on his performance for once and not his physique, which he said took an enormous amount of work to present on screen.
Arnie Hammer on Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer confessed to being awed by co-star Henry Cavill on first meeting him. Hammer re-called, “I was overwhelmed by his good looks, his chiseled body, his muscles, pretty much everything. There was the whole package there.”
One of the reasons the film stayed in the 60s time period was to allow them “to have our own world, our own reality, our own tone, which sets us apart” from films like Bourne and other recent spy thrillers.
The movie takes place a year or two after the Cuban missile crisis, an origin story that the TV show never explained. Presenting the origin story was one of the reasons Ritchie and Wigram wanted to do the project.
Some of the costumes in the film are actually vintage clothing
Homage to pistol Walther P38
Illya Kuryakin is seen using a modified Walther P38 pistol with extensions and scope. This is an homage to the same Walther P38 used in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964).
The movie was shot in the longest soundstage in London.
JFK Speech shown in the TV
The speech JFK is seen on TV giving is probably his speech at American University’s Spring Commencement, delivered on June 10, 1963 (it contains the phrase, “Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin for example, stands undiminished…”).
RT/Meta Critic Review
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is not the action movie of the summer — but it’s the one I enjoyed the most. (Click here to see)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was photographed by veteran British cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator, X-Men: First Class), and it is the first Guy Ritchie film to be shot entirely digitally. According to IMDb, Mathieson used primarily the Arri Alexa Plus, supplemented by several Canon models and a GoPro camera (probably for the chase scenes). Post-production was completed on a 2k digital intermediate, from which Warner’s 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray was presumably sourced by a direct digital path.
U.N.C.L.E. is a film of visual extremes. The opening in East and West Berlin is dark and the surroundings are typically worn and threadbare. This only serves to intensify the contrast when the action shifts to Rome and the Vinciguerra estate, where the environment is luxurious and the cinematography becomes so bright that at times the image almost seems to have been bleached. Although Ritchie and Wigram cite Fellini’s Rome as a visual inspiration, their film is more Peter Max than La Dolce Vita. Bright watercolor shades routinely appear in the frame, whether in clothing, decor, flowers or simply the banners displayed at the Vinciguerra’s racetrack. Even the brief snack that Solo pauses to enjoy during a breather from a harrowing chase scene is blessed with appetizingly rich color. The Blu-ray provides this varied palette, while simultaneously maintaining solid blacks—essential for scenes of covert nighttime escapades—and holding whites at the proper level to convey Ritchie’s idealized notion of the Italian sun without blowing out detail. (Note that, despite the detailed image, all of the main characters’ faces are always attractive, even when cut and bruised; the makeup team must have worked overtime.)
Warner has mastered U.N.C.L.E. with an average bitrate of 25.94 Mbps, and the compression appears to have been carefully performed.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. arrives on Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos (core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless) soundtrack. This review pertains only to the 7.1 mix. In a scene with traditional action effects, such as the opening contest between Solo and Kuryakin, the mix is wonderfully active and immersive, surrounding the viewer with numerous sonic elements, including screeching tires, gunfire, collisions and various sounds of a foot chase in the street and through buildings. Other action scenes reflect a different approach. One of the more dramatic chases (I don’t want to describe it specifically) has no sound effects but merely the Italian ballad, “Che Vuole Questa Musica Stasera?” performed by Peppino Gagliardi, which is first heard as source music on a radio but then expands into the entire sound array. The effect best captures the devil-may-care sensibility to which the entire film aspires, and it’s the closest Ritchie comes to marrying the cheeky sensibility of his early films with the casual mockery of the original Man from U.N.C.L.E. When the 7.1 track isn’t being dominated by one specific effect in this manner, it is almost always doing something interesting with the film’s various environments, from a Formula One racetrack to a malfunctioning interrogation chamber.
Dialogue in U.N.C.L.E. is always clear, despite the plethora of accents. The occasional Italian, German or Russian dialogue is translated by yellow subtitles that are variously stylized and placed in different portions of the screen. In addition to singles by such artists as Roberta Flack, Nina Simone and Louis Prima, the soundtrack consists of a jazzy score by Steve Pemberton (Cuban Fury), who has supplied several cues that will no doubt reappear in any future U.N.C.L.E. film.
- Spy Vision: Recreating 60’s Cool (1080p; 1.78:1; 8:34): Ritchie and Wigram discuss their inspirations; costume designer Joanna Johnston and the cast discuss the wardrobe and locations; and various other crew discuss locations, props and vehicles.
- A Higher Class of Hero (1080p; 1.78:1; 7:13): The challenges of creating action sequences that don’t look like any other sequence previously seen.
- Métisse Motorcycles: Proper—and Very British (1080p; 1.78:1; 4:49): A visit with Gerry Lisi, owner of Métisse, maker of the “bespoke” motorcycles used in the film.
- The Guys from U.N.C.L.E. (1080p; 1.78:1; 4:57): Portraits of Cavill and Hammer.
- A Man of Extraordinary Talents (1080p; 1.78:1; 3:16): A portrait of Ritchie.
- U.N.C.L.E.: On-Set Spy (1080p; 1.78:1; 5:16): Each of these short segments presents an interesting moment from production that did not fit into any other featurette. The most interesting is “A Family Thing”, which involves a historical coincidence that united the forebears of Guy Ritchie, Hugh Grant and trainee assistant director Rory Gibb. A “play all” function is included.
- Don’t Swim Elegantly
- You Want to Wrestle?
- Heli Restored
- A Family Thing