Movie Review: Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron boldly portrays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6, in an action-thriller that takes place in Berlin, on the eve of the Wall’s collapse in 1989. Her distinctive look—white-blonde hair, sleek outfits, fishnets, thigh-high boots, stilettos—and the ‘80s Europop soundtrack (99 Luftballoons, David Bowie, Der Kommissar) bring back memories of that eventful period in recent history.

From start to finish, the action never lets up as spies descend upon Berlin, determined to find an elusive list that could jeopardize the West’s entire intelligence operation. With all the single, double, and triple crosses, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the actual villain. And the dialogue is limited. But one constant prevails as Theron aims her gun, crunches bones, and punches faces: she is relentless and will not fail…a female James Bond.

While Theron dominates the film, the supporting cast of James McAvoy (Berlin station chief), John Goodman (CIA executive), and Sofia Boutella (French operative) add elements of intrigue and humor.

If you like action movies with brazen female protagonists and show-stopping fight scenes, you will enjoy Atomic Blonde.

10 responses to “Movie Review: Atomic Blonde

  1. I like the way you qualify your conclusions. I really wanted to like this film and espionage is a favourite, but the non-stop heroine-inflicted carnage was the most inauthentic I’ve seen for a while. The fight scenes were choreographed like ballet and you can see many heads turn a split second before another textbook martial arts blow by our heroine. When will filmmakers realise that to portray strong women you dont just make them more violent than men.

      • Totally agree, and that’s why we went. And I don’t really object to violence on-screen. It’s really more the glorification of the gory details. Blood spatters as the bad guy beats the victim up with the skateboard. Long bloody drool from the guy’s mouth as he keeps coming. Totally unnecessary to the movie. Her taking on multiple opponents–the scene with the rope and the one at the end–are handled much better.

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