I had a middling interesting in seeing Atomic Blonde, this cast looked good but the subject matter is one of those that is so very often handled poorly producing product that leaves one flat and unengaged. Last week while my sweetie-wife and I were catching on a backlog of the Daily Show we caught the star Charlize Theron promoting the show and my sweetie-wife indicated she was now interested in catching the movie in the theater. I am very glad that we did.
Atomic Blonde is a period piece set in the chaotic days just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Theron plays Lorraine an MI6 agent sent into communist East Berlin to retrieve an highly valuable mcguffin. (A listing of soviet agents, their covers, and mission.) Other agents have already been murdered for this list and things only get worse once Theron’s character arrive on station.
As with all the best cold war spy movies this one is drenched in cynicism, betrayal, and ambiguity. Atomic Blonde, like Dunkirk, is a plot driven movie, albeit with stronger characterization that Nolan’s WWI survival film. The closest parallel is the James Bond franchise. However unlike the unstoppable god-agent Bond, Lorraine flees from fights she is losing, suffers disastrous reversals, and isn’t armed with an array of impossible super-gadgets. (In fact all the spy-craft tech appears period and credible.) The fight sequences are fight, credible, and brutal. If you have heard reviews you may have already hear people singing the praised of the ‘Stairwell’ fight. It is very impressive, topping the ‘Corridor’ fight from season on of Netflix’s Daredevil. The director, David Leitch, also resisted the temptation of over processed, digital stunts, lending the stunts and fights a visceral realistic feel. If you came of age in the 80’s the soundtrack is going hit you like a pissed of Lorraine. It is an impressive collection of thematically on-point period songs besting the collections used in other recent movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy I & II, or The Martian. (In fact I am listening to the soundtrack as I write this review.)
Stylish, properly cynical, brutal, and sexy, Atomic Blonde a James Bond franchise for the 21st century.