Atomic Blonde (2017)
R | 1h 55min | Action, Mystery, Thriller | 28 July 2017 (USA)
Synopsis: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Review: There is no doubt about it. ATOMIC BLONDE is just a cool flick. From the neon glow of the poster graphics to the sexy swagger of the spy game; this film pays attention to the details and wows us with visuals. And to be honest, once you go blonde you’ll never go Bond.
Although Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is not a super hero I like how they give her a persona as if she is. There is an electricity around her that Theron exploits to the fullest. Director David Leitch uses a drab Cold War Berlin as the backdrop for this lightening strike character. There are times the movie feels black and white as if you are watching a vintage film noir account of spy vs spy.
Broughton is told to trust no one and she certainly keeps an eye on David Percival (James McAvoy) who is supposed to be her point of contact in Berlin. He too is a spy trying to help recover an important list. Of course the Russians have their hand in the mix and would love nothing more than to take out Lorraine completely. It is no spoiler alert to say that there are lots of fights in this one and Broughton takes quite a few punches. Luckily she is better at dishing them out or she would never survive.
The fight scenes are fantastic and perfectly choreographed. Charlize spent many hours honing her fighting skills and this shows in the confidence in which she delivers her warrior like blows. There is no timidity or hesitation. This completely elevates the realism and Theron has solidified herself in the realm of badassdom for sure. She gets gritty in this one as the cuts and bruises pile on. Not a “Mad Max been living in the desert my whole life” gritty but more an “I look hot in these fishnet stockings as I am kicking your butt” gritty. Her character is stylish but uses it as just another tool. She can seduce when needed and few stand up to her gaze. These layers create a wonderful persona that you sort of want to see in other adventures.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this film is just a pretty face with fists of fury. The story is intriguing and for the most part keeps you guessing. I like spy movies and this one doesn’t try to break the mold but just polishes up the cliches we are used to. Some elements you see coming a mile away but it is not without some surprises. Just enjoy the ride for what it is.
Other items of note include the soundtrack and Sofia Boutella. The music selection in this film ground it 100% in 1980’s Berlin. Depeche Mode, Bowie, The Cure, New Order, Duran Duran, and more add a killer soundtrack. Plus you will never hear George Michael’s Father Figure the same way again. Boutella rounds out a competent all star cast which includes John Goodman, Toby Jones, and Eddie Marsan. You may remember Sofia from last years Star Trek Beyond. Here she plays a sexy young French agent named Delphine Lasalle. She is soft and a tad timid which plays nicely with Broughton’s savagery. In a cold, hard edged film she brings a warmth and supple beauty to the mix.
ATOMIC BLONDE is rated R for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity. It is an adult film and not for the squeamish. The fighting is brutal and unapologetic. I give it 4 out of 5 ice baths. I loved Theron in the role and appreciated the story they built around her character.