Atomic Blonde has been released for two weeks in the US and is about to be released as I write this article in the UK.
If you are to believe the tattle, Charlize Theron has been working on this project for nearly five years – and it shows. The action sequences are flawless, the plot is actually historically valid, the music is great and just when you think you have a handle on who is, or isn’t, the bad guy – things get thrown around. Especially towards the end of the movie.
In this movie, Theron plays Lorraine Broughton; an undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. It is set in 1989 and from the moment she touches down in West Berlin we are reminded of the political situation through news casts, riots and little hints in the background music. A lot of time has been spent trying to get this all right and it makes the end product far more believable.
James McAvoy produces a great performance as the local head of station, who appears to have a sideline selling jeans and swapping information for Jack Daniels. His character is as believable as it needs to be, although sometimes I get the feeling he is on autopilot – but that could be his character. Sofia Boutella also makes an appearance as Delphine, the rookie french agent. I feel this character is underused, but again it is one of those situations where she is necessary for the plot and her character does what is needed. Boutella is as usual, flawless and quite funny at times. Far better than in the Mummy, where she didn’t really get a chance to do any decent acting.
The cast is rounded off by sterling, but limited performances by the great John Goodman, as the CIA representative and Toby Jones as Lorraine’s boss. “C” is played by James Faulkner.
I have heard that some reviewers have complained that at times this movie moves slowly and I would agree, but that isn’t a bad thing. It allows us to pause and assess what is happening, which is something you need when you have such great action set pieces. Theron has definitely worked hard to make you believe she has the fighting prowess of her character. She even spent time training with Keanu Reeves as he prepared for John Wick Part 2.
Although it is based upon the graphic novel, The Coldest City, it is not a comic style movie. Instead it is an intense political spy movie set in the cold war era with more action than you will find in some Bond movies.
I hope that somehow they think about making this into a series of films, because it deserves it. At time of writing it has doubled its limited budged of $20 Million, and I would like to see this break the $80 Million mark worldwide.
In conclusion, Theron would physically and mentally kick James Bond’s ass, and this movie shows it. If you like spy stories, action thrillers and retro 80’s music – see this movie.