Let me just start out by saying that this movie is cool. Cool in every aspect. From shot selection, fight choreography to a brilliant 80’s soundtrack sprinkled on top. Hell, even all the iced vodka in this Berlin Wall-era film look super cool and inviting. This film oozes with personality.
I have to admit something to you. I really love action films. So read on if you want to see how much I loved this particular action film.
Even though this movie doesn’t subscribe to one kind of fighting style, it’s very reminiscent of John Wick. You may already know this, but one half of the John Wick directing team was responsible for Atomic Blonde. David Leitch did a fantastic job at capturing some brilliant fights.
That said, there were many talking head moments that looked so beautiful. So many of the non-action shots were well composed too. I found myself interested in all the exposition of the film, and have been reliving some of these scenes in my head for days on end. However, I must also mention that while there are some great moments of dialogue, the plot can come off thin.
Quick plot run down for the two of you that don’t already know it. Lorraine (Charlize Theron) is an MI6 agent who is sent on a mission to Berlin 10 days or so before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is to retrieve a micro film with all of the active agents on it while also uncovering a spy in her ranks. Typical action movie set up, yet I can’t help but feel like the approach is so well done that it keeps the standard plot interesting. Sure there are some great twists, but ultimately many of you just wanna see Charlize kick everyone’s ass and drink vodka, am I right?
Charlize Theron shines in this one. Let’s be real, she is great in like every movie post Aeon Flux. I like to think that she stopped giving a shit after Monster. By that I mean she has sought out projects that interest her. She seems to not care about what the media/industry thinks of her and goes after passion projects. Atomic Blonde has been in the works for many years now. You should check out the graphic novel it is based on. “The Coldest City” was written by Antony Johnston and drawn by Sam Hart. The film diverges from the comic in various ways. It doesn’t matter since the film retains key elements while building on an already interesting concept.
Knowing that adds a whole extra level of greatness to her character in this film. The passion and want to make this movie. It translates into a really compelling character. In the role, Charlize brings little nuances to a character that balances between being a brawler, espionage expert and a top notch lover.
She does all of this way better than Bond, Bourne, Hunt. Or any of those other spy-bitches now that I’m thinking about it.
Charlize is surrounded by an amazing supporting cast. John Goodman, Toby Jones and James McAvoy all kill it in their respective parts. Young Professor X here is basically playing his crooked cop character from Filth. But it doesn’t matter, he seems to be having so much fun in this role.
Sofia Boutella rounds out the cast as the only other female character. Yes she does have a pretty hot sex scene with Charlize. She’s a great actress. However, her character doesn’t do too much at advancing the story besides one moment in a bar. I have to give props to the location management team. There were so many great locations in this film. Berlin felt like the city equivalent of McAvoy’s grimy character. I haven’t seen much art dedicated to the fall of the Wall. This film really drew me in to the event in a very respectful way.
In a Summer of great female representation, it’s a shame that more actresses aren’t in this film. That said, this movie is set in the 80’s spy world. I don’t know much about that profession aside from what we see in movies and on TV, yet I have to imagine operatives back then were more male than female.
Easily the most bad ass scene in the film is a fight on and around a stair case in a dilapidated apartment building. It’s a really well stitched together one shot that has so many moments where you see Charlize actually punching and kicking. Try and find the scene stitches. It’s not easy, that is how well this scene is composed. It’s such an intimate and surprising brawl that I like to think people will be talking about it for years to come. Several of the trailers show portions of this scene. However you really need to see this on a big screen so you can appreciate this moment in all it’s glory.
If you like action movies and are ok with a relatively thin plot…you’re going to love this movie. I want to hear what you guys think in the comments below. Let me know what you think of the film or maybe chime in with other great bad ass females in cinema.
Full disclosure, Universal Pictures and Focus Features hosted a pre party at Horton Plaza before the movie. I was given the Atomic Blonde Soundtrack on Cassette, food, drinks and a blonde wig with glasses.
Despite all of the pomp and circumstance of that event, I still would have loved that movie. I have since seen it a second time and enjoyed it all the same. See it in the theaters though. You really need to hear the bad ass sound design and soundtrack.