Story

The Man from UNCLE is set in the 1960s during the Cold War. It centres on two special agents from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (UNCLE), US agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and USSR spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). The movie follows the two agents as they join forces to stop a mysterious international crime organisation from selling nuclear weapons and war technology and destabilising the balance of power. 

Napoleon’s mission is initially to transport Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), a German mechanic, across the Berlin Wall from East Germany to West Germany. But when Illya catches up with him, Napoleon and Illya must work together. Following orders, they use Gaby to infiltrate a shipping company that is allegedly holding her father captive. He’s a famous German physicist, and the company wants him to make nuclear weaponry. The two agents distrust each other at first, before they realise that 

Themes

Spying; nuclear war and conflict; relationships; loyalty and trust

Violence

There is a lot of violence in The Man from UNCLE. For example:

  • In many scenes characters fight physically and punch each other.
  • Characters use guns and other weapons.
  • A man is stabbed with a knife, and there is a cutting sound.
  • A main character is tortured with electricity. He is rescued and his torturer is strapped in the chair in his place and electrocuted. This takes place in the background of the shot. The man’s death isn’t shown on screen, but it causes a fire. 
  • Several people are killed when a truck hits a boat. Scenes show dead people, but not in a graphic way – for example, the scenes don’t show any blood. 

Content that may disturb children

Under 8
Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes from The Man from UNCLE mentioned above, and also by scenes showing explosions, fire and car chases.

From 8-13
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above, particularly the one involving torture and electrocution.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

The Man from UNCLE has some sexual references. For example:

  • Napoleon is said to be a ‘womaniser’. He has sex with many women in the movie, although this isn’t shown.
  • Characters re described as being ‘turned on’ or sexually aroused.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

The Man from UNCLE shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters drink socially at parties. 
  • A woman seems to be drunk after drinking alcohol from a bottle.
  • Characters smoke a lot.

Nudity and sexual activity

The Man from UNCLE shows some sexual activity and nudity. For example:

  • In a scene that shows one of Napoleon’s sexual encounters, a woman wears lace underwear and no shirt.
  • In another scene, Napoleon and a woman kiss. The scene implies that they have sex, but this isn’t shown on screen. 
  • Gaby and Illya pretend to be engaged and share a room. They dance and wrestle each other, but go no further.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in The Man from UNCLE, including sexual terms used as insults, other insults and name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Man from UNCLE is an action-packed and exciting adaptation of the 1960s TV show, which some parents and grandparents might remember. 

The movie features an unlikely friendship between two special agents, one from the US and the other from the USSR. Both struggle to get over their intrinsic distrust of one another. But both also slowly come to terms with the fact that they must follow orders and learn to work together. 

The Man from UNCLE is rated M and contains frequent violence. It also has a scene of torture and death. These violent scenes are likely to disturb young children and younger teenagers.

You might like to talk with your children about:

  • the movie’s representation of gender, and Gaby as a role model
  • the nature and consequences of violence, and the reality of being a spy
  • issues related to authority and following orders.