Is "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." the Best Comedy of All Time?: A Discussion
Guy Ritchie’s 2015 action/adventure (more like comedy/espionage/action) film is another classic, “smart” funny film, based on the 1964 television series. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. requires attention to script, facial expressions, and detail, but trust me when I say it’s worth all that attention! Plus, the score keeps you on your toes, focused, and eager for more – so it should be an easy task you distracted folks! Focusing on how jokes and clever the script for this film is, the astounding character development our guy Guy Ritchie is known for, and the plot twist finale that that gets even the better of you, my blog and I are delighted to serve this multi-layered cake with all its crazy flavours, to you! That said, welcome to the height of the Cold War, 1963!
First things first, this film is notorious for a killer script that makes you laugh in the least obvious way. Subtle jokes are abundant, cheeky remarks are obviously appreciated, and the tone with which any of the lines are carried out by any of the characters is just… the cherry on top! Monotone or sarcastic, sassy or charismatic, the variety of personality types ensures all viewers have a character they find relatable, vibe with or admire. This film is just a win-win baby! Now perhaps you might be wondering, what exactly is smart humour? How can I thoroughly enjoy a comedy that requires me to pay good or decent attention, and have to think about what is said? Well let me put it this way: I bet you’ve never laughed at the sentence “you can’t be serious” or, “damn, I left my jacket in there”. Right? How could you? These sentences are so simple and don’t sound like anything other than a remark and/or perhaps, an excited or frightened statement and/or answer? Well, all those theories are wrong. So put aside some time for this two and a half hour film, and experience the witty jokes and remarks for yourself – you’ll love them! But jokes aside – quite literally – this film’s script knocks you off your feet the same way stepping on a banana peel or driving over one in Mario Kart would – by catching you off guard and surprising you with the layered delicacy that is language. The way in which certain lines are carried out is what kills you, and the facial expressions that pair with certain lines is what makes you appreciate or perhaps even discover, the importance of subtle moments of comedic relief. A good script attracts you in a variety of ways, so turn your ears and eyes on – for subtitles translating Russian and Italian, that also pack a punch visually – and see what brilliance sticks out to you the most!
Now, every good story allows the audience to fully understand their characters. Doing so allows the viewer to live the story as much as the characters do, just because you know them or their predicaments so well. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a film and story that does just that. It gives you detailed backstories on all the major parties involved, provides moments of solitude per character so that whilst in the limelight you learn a little something more about them simultaneously, and place them in situations that allow us to see right through them and witness the colours they choose to reveal or, conceal. It’s almost as if the real spy in the room is you, and not the characters – talk about living vicariously! But now let us delve a little deeper. Why is it that the character development in this particular film is so good, and necessary? Well let’s see, first you have Agent Solo: a former US military operative turned art thief criminal, after discovering Nazi hiding locations of artwork stolen from various countries during WWII. A charismatic, multilingual, precision-focused, top of the class, black-ops soldier who gets caught and blackmailed into working for the CIA. On the other hand you have Agent Illya: a post-psychotic KGB agent still working on his anger issues and triggers, whose sole purpose is to complete his tasks in the utmost efficient and dedicated manner. Then, you have Gaby: an East Berlin mechanic whose long-lost father turns out to be a nuclear warhead manufacturer, currently creating a bomb for an elusive and wealthy buyer that still has Nazi ties, thus dragging her into the whirlwind game of who retrieves Dr. Teller’s research disk first and ultimately, becomes the world’s most powerful nation. Sound like a whirlwind? It is. So get ready for your European adventure!
Last, but certainly not least, we have The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’s plot twist ending! A sucker punch if there ever was one, you literally could never tell what was waiting for you at the end, and I say this even after having watched this film countless times – it still low key catches me off guard! The beauty behind plot twists are their surprise effect and an interesting turn of events, but not all films carry both aspects and that, is what separates a good plot twist and a good film, from a great plot twist and a great film. And to avoid revealing any spoilers, your insight to this films plot twist stops here, but I hope your journey to the end of this blog piece on this stellar film entices you enough to witness the plot twist ending for yourself, and enjoy and catch, all the jokes along the way. Bon voyage!
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