In the very beginning of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, we see Napoleon supposedly killing the Red Peril and a rainbow that looks like a lens refraction:

enter image description here

And then in the very end, we see the Red Peril actually killing Alexander Vinciguerra, and again a rainbow, this time looking like an actual rain rainbow:

enter image description here

To me a rainbow is a metaphor for spring, the good, cheerfulness etc. I mean rainbow always stands for something good. Now, except for these two cases I have not noticed the rainbow anywhere else in the movie, thus my question: Is this Guy Ritchie breaking through the fourth wall telling us that these actions were justified? Most importantly what I want to know is how frequent is this technique in cinema?

Edit: I found another rainbow in the movie! This one is so fleeting I missed it the first time: we see another 'refraction rainbow' when Red Peril steals the boat from the satellite factory:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Characters break the fourth wall. Not the director.
    – cde
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


It's possible they were left in, as they were aiming to have lens flares elsewhere.

Visual effects supervisor Richard Bain and visual effects producer Sarah Tulloch, who worked on the film, explain in the article Crafting the Killer Chase: The Man From UNCLE that lens flares were recreated digitally for a car chase:

In delivering the visual effects for the Berlin scenes, Rise matched the look of the original anamorphic plates which often required extensive flare and distortion effects. “For instance,” outlines Gellinger, “we looked at the practical car headlight flares and re-created those as NUKE flares in a custom script. We roto’d out every single disc and ray that was in the real plates and turned them into little 2D sprites that we could manipulate in our custom flare and track them onto our CG cars. That really paid off. We had four re-created practical flares in our NUKE gizmo that we could apply depending on what lens was used.

Given that Ritchie approved intentional flare in the car chase, it's possible that either he didn't mind natural flares created by the lens, or wanted flares adding specifically.

Given the film is set in the 60s, it seems more likely that lens flare reflects the quality of films of the day, rather than any other hidden meaning.


I don't think that the rainbows were meant to indicate any sort of meaning. Rather, they are lens flares, they either happened organically during filming or were added later on to give the movies a slightly more "rustic" feel.

Lens flares occur when light, usually strong light, hits the lens of the camera at particular angles. Back in the day it was a lot harder to prevent these, but as technology has progressed they have become easier to prevent. It has become a thing to re-add lens flares to make things seem more authentic or older.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .