Tuesday, August 25, 2015
THE MAN FROM UNCLE -- THRUSH couldn't kill him but Guy Richie did
Instead, the screen was filled with slick, glossy, absurd action sequences, and ‘60s tropes. What he was saying was, “as long as I dazzle you with cool shots, fun vintage costumes, and video trickery you're so fucking stupid you will eat it up.” In Richie's estimation we’re just cats who can be entertained by a ball on a string.
I am a huge fan of the television series. I own the box set. I even watched THE GIRL FROM UNCLE (okay, for a different reason but still). As regular readers know, I’m also a major ‘60s freak. (I'll refrain from plugging my book... sorta.) And who doesn’t enjoy things being blown up? So I went in ready to love it.
I’m sorry. First and foremost a filmmaker’s obligation to the audience is to be a storyteller. It is not to fill the screen with almost two hours of retro chic bullshit. Caring about the characters, tracking the narrative is important. Duplicating Twiggy’s wardrobe is not.
Practically every decision Richie made was wrong. By veering so far away from the TV show all he did was alienate fans of the series. So there go the Baby Boomers. And Millennials could give a shit about ‘60s mod style and period detail. Then for good measure, he does away with the iconic theme song. So he has crafted this multi-million dollar dog’s breakfast that appeals to no one.
My hand was shaking as I left the theater. It’s one thing to make a movie with sincere intentions that falls short. We all fail sometimes. But this was something else. This was a filmmaker who has no regard or respect for his audience. This was a patronizing jerk who believes if you wrap a turd in a piece of shiny paper we’ll eat it and think it’s a Tootsie Roll.