Film Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

Atomic Blonde, 2017

Directed by: David Leitch

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella


Germany, 1989, the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and a list of double agents, hidden inside a watch, has been stolen. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a top-level MI6 field agent, has to recount her story of Germany to a CIA Agent Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman, The Artist) and Broughton’s MI6 superior, Eric Gray (Toby Jones), after she was tasked with retrieving it. While in Germany she mingles with Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella, The Mummy), an undercover French agent, and meets up with David Percival (James McAvoy), an eccentric Berlin station chief.

This film brilliantly blends in comedy and action, and does so with a brilliant soundtrack (the latest in a long line of films to utilise 70’s/80’s music). Nena’s ’99 Red Balloons’ (the German version) is remarkably used as a solemn song (which it is, in hindsight) and in a comedic scene, which is credit to those in the sound team for utilising that song in both ways. The rest of the film features other classic songs of the era, and, like Baby Driver recently, it improves the feel of the film.

The action scenes, though, are this film’s bread-and-butter and will, ultimately, be where the true judgement on this film are formed: and they succeed. While some of the fights don’t look too strenuous to Lorraine, and some of those she beats up look pathetic, but there are some truly wonderful scenes that live up to Lorraine’s billing of being a ‘total bad-ass’.

The plot and the plot structure are pretty solid; sometimes it can be a little confusing remembering who is using what codename and who is betraying whom, but with the whole film being a retelling it can be paced well: and it is. Cutting back to the interrogation room we gloss over some of Lorraine’s more boring moments in Germany, and this means the film is at a frantic pace throughout. Much like with the review of Titanic, though, we are presented with a film which is one person retelling events yet we see things that they weren’t a part of. Yes, it helps us as an audience, but it doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things.

That aside, though, Atomic Blonde is a fine film which will keep you tapping your toes and glued to the fighting scenes throughout. Funny, charming and action-packed, with a few surprises here and there to keep you guessing.


Plot: * * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * * *     Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * ¼


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