For a special agent, you’re not having a very special day, are you?
I wasn’t expecting much from this franchise reboot from Ritchie, but reviews and responses convinced me to go; I was right at the beginning. This lackluster spy caper does several things right; it has the slick look of the sixties down to perfection and the cast is . . . well, all incredibly good looking. Cavill especially just wears the suits, vests, ties, etc. to absolute perfection. In other words, this movie looks fantastic. Unfortunately, it seems to have little in the way of a coherent script. There’s potential in the set-up of an American agent and a Soviet agent forced to cooperate during the sixties, in order to stop an even greater threat than either of their countries. But the film doesn’t do much with it; and for as good as they look, Cavill & Hammer simply don’t have any chemistry. The film seems like it’s going to do something interesting by setting Hammer up as a character on the edge of psychotic rage, but this never pays off in the slightest, which just seems stupid. Even Alicia Vikander, one of the two or three best actresses under thirty today, can’t do anything to make her character resonate; there’s simply nothing on the page for her to work with. Kudos, I will say, to Elizabeth Debicki who just sinks her teeth into her villainous role and gives it everything she’s got; she’s far and away the best thing in the movie and when she was on screen, the film occasionally actually came to life. Ritchie has a few interesting directorial ideas; the best executed is a sequence where a rampaging boat chase is turned into a beautiful ballet in the background as we watch a character coolly eating lunch as if nothing was happening. But on the whole, the film just isn’t anything really; the leads are pretty but vacuous – the story is incoherent – the dialogue is silly – the action is by the numbers. Far as I’m concerned, this guy can go right back to U.N.C.L.E. And, yes, that ending is a clear set-up for a franchise; here’s hoping it doesn’t happen. 2 stars.
tl;dr – vacuous espionage thriller is beautifully shot and often atmospheric, but the story is incoherent and dull and the performers have no charisma or chemistry. 2 stars.