Atomic Blonde is a thrill ride offering up stylish and brutal fight scenes for an entertaining ultra-violent film alongside a complex story.
Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, an elite spy in the MI6 who is sent to Berlin during the cold war to retrieve a list of undercover operatives. While she is there she partners up with David Percival (James McAvoy) who helps her navigate through the destabalising city and its dangerous game of spies.
As we see Lorraine Broughton continuously exhausted throughout, she begins to trust no one and we too feel the same, in an unknown place to her with unknown people around she is spat into the middle of a threatening city full of spies wanting her dead from every angle, from the British to the Russians to the Americans to even the French. Charlize Theron is badass in this, she takes no sh*t at all and gives the character of Lorraine an interesting look that makes her intriguing, she commands the screen at all times and gives a brilliant performance. Alongside her James McAvoy is seriously entertaining as well as Sofia Boutella, although arguably underused.
The story can be somewhat complex with twists and turns as well as a non-linear structure, furthermore the plot is seen in many other spy films and so is nothing new, therefore you are never really surprised or kept on edge, ultimately you know what is going to happen, moreover there are what feels like numerous endings too, which wasn’t achieved all too well. Additionally, the movie doesn’t expand on any of the characters as much as it should, we are interested but left without any knowledge of who they really are.
With David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool 2) directing it was certain you were going to get one thing out of this film and that was brutal and awesome fight scenes and this film does not disappoint. Similar to John Wick the film does not focus on quick-cut editing to hide the poor fighting, instead the film orchestrates brilliant choreography that throws up vicious punching, kicking, stabbing and shooting. The film also conjures up a specific fight scene that travels from a staircase to the roads of Berlin that seem never-ending (in a good way) similar to Daredevil’s fantastic one-shot fights, it is a completely magnificent scene that is the best in the whole film.
Accompanying the fight scenes is Jonathan Sela’s stylish and slick cinematography, which captures East Berlin as a dull, and West Berlin as energetic. The lighting and colours are vibrant throughout; they strike at you even in the dullest of places adding to the setting and characterisation, accomplishing some beautiful shots. However what also accompanies the scenes are 80’s pop music hits, as some sort of juxtaposition, we have seen this is other films where it works incredibly well but for Atomic Blonde it falls flat, the music just doesn’t bring anything to the story or the fight scenes.
Overall, the film’s action sequences are fun, ruthless and fantastic and the film is beautifully shot, unfortunately it falls short with its story, unmotivated, predictable and complicated you may start to not care about it.