Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, a top, undercover MI6 agent “Lorraine Broughton” (Charlize Theron) is sent on a mission to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate a horrible murder of a fellow agent, an agent Lorraine once worked with. Her mission is to also to recover a missing list of double agents. Lorraine is ordered to partner with a state chief, David Pervical (James McAvoy). The year is 1989.
While the film might have been completed by a first-time director “David Leitch”, David’s resume here also includes having previously worked as a film producer in the recent (and successful) action flicks, John Wick 1 & 2.
Visually, Atomic Blonde is stunning to watch. From the film’s introduction, the director has made a major focus on every shot being conducted well. Actress Charlize Theron is also a stunning highlight in every shot, deliberately made to “stand out” in every scene. The camera work for most of the basic shots has been done with such creativeness and it was refreshing to see multiple moments that were different and creative. Visually this is a true credit to the director and Charlize Theron as she once again proves to moviegoers that she can provide an outstanding performance. The movie includes some of the most hardcore action sequences, even resulting in me clenching my teeth together in a similar tradition to John Wick or perhaps even Jason Bourne (this is a good thing).
If you enjoy 80’s music then you will also love the film’s soundtrack. Not only does the film provide thrilling music from Tyler Bates, Atomic Blonde is absolutely jammed packed and loaded with many well known 80’s music throughout the film. The way the music is used is also very clever and a blast to see. Watching key characters turn on a loud radio during a fight scene can lead to the music itself being a bigger focus than the normal punching and kicking sound effects. For some viewers, this type of style and soundtrack could be a little too much. For me, it was welcomed and embraced. I mean who doesn’t love the 80’s?
While Atomic Blonde has plenty to praise, it does sadly have a few issues relating to the plot and story. This hurts the final results of this film. Throughout the story there are many mixed genres and topics, meaning that at times it felt like I was watching multiples files at once. This is also due to the way the film is paced, going back and forth. By the third act, I felt the film was really starting to drag and struggle as we approached the ending. To top it off, the film also has an unexpected (and what I felt was an unnecessary) same-gender sex scene and nudity flashes (all involving actress Charlize Theron). In my option, these scenes should have result in the film’s overall cinema rating being R 18+, not MA15+. Regardless of my opinion of ratings, I found this type of content felt out of place, hindering the storyline and I feel it wasn’t required.
Overall, Atomic Blonde is a mixed bag, loaded with incredible visuals, a fun soundtrack and action sequences, (including one that lasts one screen for a full 8 – 10mins!). Its major letdown for me was the film’s overall plot and the paces it takes to tell its story. Charlize Theron proves to the world once again that she is not to be messed with and continues to provide an expected and outstanding performance.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden