Film Reviews

ATOMIC BLONDE

By • Jul 27th, 2017 •

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Sensational. Jason Bourne and James Bond – this is the genre’s alpha successor. Theron is a goddess.

You watch every action film and wonder, how come no one ever gets hurt? A punch to the face by someone trying to kill you or be killed by you must be a lot harder than a tussle in a bar. What happens when you throw yourself off a building?

When the action star falls into the deep end of the ocean and is miraculously rescued, how come his clothes are always dry?

ATOMIC BLONDE officially changes that movie trope. You are never again going to believe Jason Bourne’s brutal beating in a European apartment where he finally throws the attacker off the balcony, then washes his bloody hands and catches a plane to Budapest.

And M16 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) doesn’t take just one but an appalling number of brutal hand-to-hand combat up against big killers. Lorraine shows every punch and bruise.

I screamed out loud at the punches Lorraine took.

Something went wrong in Berlin – the Wall will soon be down and the Era of the Cold War is hot – and Lorraine is brought in to be “debriefed” by her handler Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and CIA’s Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman).

ATOMIC BLONDE, directed by David Leitch, moves back in time as Lorraine details what happened – from her point of view.

A list of every one of Her Majesty’s secret agents has been stolen by Russian defector, codename “Spyglass” (Eddie Marsan). He has the list half-ass hidden but has also conveniently memorized the entire very thorough list as his safeguard.

Lorraine’s contact in Berlin is deep, deep undercover agent David Percival (James McAvoy). He has used his unusual position to become a major influencer in the hedonistic, flame-throwing underground. While there are no drugs indulged, liquor and all forms of sex and depravity are welcome. The atmosphere in Berlin is, its all gone to hell already, so enjoy yourself while you can.

There is East Germany and West Germany and Lorraine and Percival must navigate between the two. Walking down a street requires a negotiation and papers.

Percival meets up with Lorraine but doesn’t trust her – there is a double-agent known as Satchel lurching out there. The Brits, the Americans, the Russians, and the Church of Scientology are all looking for the list and the identity of “Satchmo.”

Lorraine knows she is being followed by a young, scruffy French woman, Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) who, upon introducing herself, makes an overt pass. Lorraine, finishing up her exclusive daily diet of Stolichnaya Vodka (69 calories in a 1 oz serving) takes her to bed. You can learn a lot from after sex bed talk.

Once you have identified yourself as a killer, morality and strictly adhering to one type of sexual pleasure, seems kind of silly. At least me and Lorraine think so.

That’s basically the plot with twists and turns and who side is she, him, them and the cute hacker Merkel (Bill Skarsgård) with a flair for wardrobe really on?

The power of Theron’s cold, cool killer sans a gun and Leitch’s formidable skill as a brilliant director of brutal fighting, make ATOMIC BLONDE a fabulous entry at the top of the genre. How will Mr. Bond, appearing in 2019, match this rapturous action movie? Daniel Craig has already shown his temperament is not suited to long hours getting shoved around by stuntmen.

I love Craig’s James Bond, so who really cares how the team attempts to surpass JOHN WICK 1 and 2 and ATOMIC BLONDE? The Bond franchise has the money and showed it off by staging SPECTRE’s Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City opener.

The imagination of the ATOMIC BLONDE’S fight scenes is dazzling and it really looks like Theron is in there. Lorraine takes on a horde of killers and in one sequence has a monstrous fight with a guy who beats her senseless. Yet, she gets up. At one point, Theron looks like she is actually in a fight and loses her balance trying to get up. And the actor playing the platinum-haired assassin quickly follows her lead. It was either a wonderfully choreographed scene or just spontaneously an in-the-moment shot. It looked like they were really exhausted from fighting.

Theron has found a director who films her like a goddess. Not only has Theron found a director she should work with again, she has also found a Golden Ticket – a franchise.

The screenplay by Kurt Johnstad (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City”) has a nice stream of sophistication with subtle philosophical musings – well appreciated.

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.
Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com.

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