I finally got round to seeing the new The Man From UNCLE film and I loved it. However, the verdict in the Robot household wasn't unanimous; the film has had mixed reviews, and my husband wasn't massively keen on it.
The film is supposed to be set in 1963, but as I was watching I couldn't help feeling the costumes looked slightly later, so I was quite pleased to discover a vogue.com interview with the costume designer, Joanna Johnston, where she mentions being especially influenced by copies of Vogue from between 1966 and 1968. The look of East German mechanic Gaby was, apparently, influenced by Jean Shrimpton, while villainess Victoria was apparently based on Marisa Berenson, though I thought she also looked very Catherine Deneuve.
And the women aren't the important bit: what about Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, you might wonder. Cavill is simply gorgeous. He has the sort of movie star face you rarely see any more, a vintage face made for this sort of film. He's great as Solo. I wasn't so convinced by Hammer at first, and he lacks David McCallum's ability to radiate Kuryakin's coldness, though he's a better actor than Cavill and I liked him as Kuryakin by the end.
I do think that how you feel about the film depends on your attitude towards 1960s Bond films, because that's what this felt very much like in some ways. There's an opening car chase - the Mr hated it, I wasn't particularly excited by it but didn't loathe it. It was lighter on gadgets than Bond films – think bug detectors and lasers for cutting wire fences, not exploding pens or flying cars – and also less exploitative, with merely the one scene of romance, and the worst you see in that is a lady with her back to you, still wearing her knickers. (Not 1960s knickers, I noticed.) Also, Victoria is a far stronger character than you see in many a Bond film, though Gaby was standard feisty totty.
Despite being lighter on girls and gadgets, it had the action and pace of a decent Bond film. It also has the predictability. I really enjoy Bond films (in fact, I've a sneaking liking for mindless action films generally, though I did draw the line at A Good Day To Die Hard) so wasn't going to have too many problems with this. If you're not a Bond fan, you probably won't like this.