Spectacularly star-studded and a behemoth of a cool action movie for action movie aficionados;
Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron, just might be the 80s set, sexy spy movie of your dreams…
Based on Antony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City and adapted for screen by
Kurt Johnstad (300), Atomic Blonde is stacked with solid car chases, espionage galore and sexually charged moments; the thrilling high stakes in Atomic Blonde coupled with exciting performances by well-loved cult actors creates an exciting fully fleshed out, suspenseful spy flick with a story that’s fun to keep up with, but won’t leave you feeling confused or out of the loop; and certainly holds up to the Hitchcockian idea of the tick of the bomb being more unsettling than the explosion itself.
Coming at us on directing duties on Atomic Blonde is David Leitch; who is currently shooting Deadpool 2 and worked on of course John Wick; however before that, Leitch was the Stunt Coordinator on cult favourites like Fight Club, 300, V for Vendetta and The Bourne Ultimatum and a lot more, so ahh it’s safe to say that this is an action movie fan’s action movie, if you know what I’m saying? The action is constant, consistent in its brutal yet clever nature, fast but readable and services pushing the narrative forward in a cool and inclusive way. Along with break-neck action, Atomic Blonde puts some of its spy movie influences on display; especially so in the excellent black umbrella scene as Agent Lorraine Broughton stomps down the wet streets of Berlin. This little vignette pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent (1940) and in fact the movies centring on the acquirement of a mysterious list is the ultimate type of MacGuffin that Ol’ Alfie would have approved of too.
Undercover MI6 Agent Imperator Furiosa is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate a murder and obtain a missing list of double agents; she’s helped in her quest by deep cover MI6 Agent Professor Charles Xavier and horror clown Pennywise; while also protecting spy operative Heinrich Himmler. Furiosa spends time seeing Berlin’s sights and the sheets with Princess Ahmanet; and is questioned on her return to London by MI6 head Dr. Arnim Zola and CIA head Sully the Monster.
Of course starring: Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) James McAvoy (X:Men franchise),
Bill Skarsgård (It), Eddie Marsan (The Exception), Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), Toby Jones (Captain America / Marvel franchise) and John Goodman (Monsters Inc.)
Charlize Theron continues to demonstrate her formidable acting skill in Atomic Blonde, seemingly effortlessly crushing her opponents, creating cunning plans on the fly and looking heart-shoppingly high fashion while she does it. Our Agent Lorraine Broughton is not to be messed with whether it’s in negotiation, in combat, in spy skill or to be honest first aid, cause this woman sure knows how to self-heal and self-care (a lesson for us all there…). I’d totally jump on board for an Agent Broughton franchise as I’m going out there and I’m going to call it: I enjoyed Atomic Blonde more than the last two B-named Spy movies, Bond and Bourne; Spectre (2015) and Jason Bourne (2016). Leitch has taken some fresh gaze also to represent Agent Broughton in a tough as nails way on screen, by focusing on her strength, the power her body gives her and her athleticism, with a very minimal importance of focus on her curves or the feminine sex appeal of her body; especially in a particular shot in an ice bath scene, where Agent Broughton’s rippling back muscles are reminiscent of the same shot used to show the threat and power of Tom Hardy’s Bane (The Dark Knight Rises, 2012).
This muddling of traditional gender constructs in Atomic Blonde is clearly displayed in Agent Broughton living up to that other spy troupe; being an accomplished seducer of the opposite; and in Atomic Blonde’s case, the same sex, in order to accomplish mission objectives. Even there though, the sultry trysts between Agent Broughton and Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) are shot and framed in a way that’s clearly about the characters attraction and pleasure, rather than being shot in a smutty way to showcase “hot girl-on-girl action” for knuckle-draggers; it’s an expression of Agent Broughton’s free will, power and persuasion and potential make’s Lasalle the first “Broughton Girl”. One last trivial thing…the Atomic Blonde soundtrack for an 80s baby like me, is sooo good! It’s a moody party of
New Order, George Michael, The Clash, Joy Division and more culty favourites.
Atomic Blonde brings the action in a big way, provides another vehicle for us to cower in appreciation of the greatness that is Theron and have an excellent night out at the movies soaked in a spy suspense thriller that’s fresh with a new spy hero that is the protagonist we need now.
80s tunes?! Charlize kicking major butt?! Sign me up, right? If you’ve seen Atomic Blonde or plan to, let’s chat in the comments below and tell me: Which Charlize Theron role is your favourite?