Cert: 15 Runtime: 115 mins Director: David Leitch Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, Bill Skarsgard, Til Schweiger, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella and John Goodman
You can’t un-fuck what’s been fucked
We all love a good old fashioned summer action popcorn movie, enter Charlize Theron and Atomic Blonde! Former stunt men are now getting into directing David Leitch is the latest, he is currently directing Deadpool 2 FYI. The reviews for Atomic Blonde have been pretty positive with a John Wick feel. So what is Atomic Blonde about? The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilised city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.
Atomic Blonde is visually mesmerising with a very explosive location, time and mindset. Whenever we’re given a respite from the film’s pulse-pounding action, we can drink in the psychology, the sociology and the history of a city torn apart for generations and for which the film cheekily insists is not what it’s about. The plot is rather muddled and un-fleshed out. It can be rather confusing at points or you want to learn more about a specific situation.In all reality a movie of this stripe; i.e. a retrograde spy movie with a name actress playing a sexpot terminator, doesn’t need to do all this. Give me a few choice shootouts and a memorable villain saying. But Atomic Blonde beats out the competition by being an absolute workhorse of cinematography, stunts and tactile special effects. Everything this cast and crew does is just that much harder to pull off and as a result, scenes like the 8-9 minute long-take are just that much better.
Atomic Blonde doesn’t need to weave a web of deceit in the ballpark of a John le Carre novel. Most of the story is told in flashback by Broughton to her handlers, post-operation. Halfway through the movie it becomes apparent that everyone’s lying – she’s lying, the handlers are lying, the characters in Broughton’s story are lying and the question remains is about what and why. It at times feels perfunctory and needlessly confusing. So maybe Atomic Blonde doesn’t have the makings of a true classic. But what it does well it does incredibly, exceedingly, near-impossibly well and offers no less than some of the most punishingly intense, wildly entertaining, hand-to-hand combat sequences. Charlize Theron does carry this film a lot for me, she really gives a great action performance. James McAvoy irritated me quite a but throughout. I did enjoy Sofia Boutella also she gave the film a nice lift. The soundtrack FYI is pretty decent, it does seem like an 80’s greatest hits but that’s why I like it. Atomic Blonde is a different kind of popcorn flick but a bloody good one.